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Future handling of sites of memory associated with recent conflicts

 
 
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Author elsslots
Admin
#1 | Posted: 23 Jan 2023 04:09 | Edited by: elsslots 
It took a couple of years, but the report on how to deal with "sites of memory associated with recent conflicts" has been published. The study that predated it was from 2020.

And there is a Draft Decision on it. It will be discussed at the Extraordinary Meeting tomorrow.

I read all 3 once and haven't formed a clear opinion about them yet, but maybe we can here summarize them and discuss the contents (and what this means for the nominations that are still in the pipeline).

Author elsslots
Admin
#2 | Posted: 23 Jan 2023 04:18 | Edited by: elsslots 
The report and Draft Decision mostly outline a process. When a site of this nature is put forward by a country (either TWHS or nomination), it has to involve all stakeholders, describe the reconciliation process and explain how the interpretation of the site is done. Also, another country can object / contest (they have a form for that now)!

Furthermore, the moratorium on the evaluation of sites of memory associated with recent conflicts is lifted. Nominations of such sites for inscription on the World Heritage List may be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Definitions:
- "Recent" = 20th century or later
- "Conflict" = "events such as wars, battles, massacres, genocide, torture, military occupations, movements of selfdetermination, resistance movements, liberation movements from colonization, apartheid and occupation, exile, deportation and mass violations of human rights and events or actions that could potentially impact the territorial integrity of States."

Author elsslots
Admin
#3 | Posted: 23 Jan 2023 04:27 
In my opinion, the conclusion of the earlier study (2020) was more strict than what is being discussed now: "This study concludes that sites associated with recent conflicts and other negative and divisive memories do not normally relate to the purpose and scope of the World Heritage Convention and the broader purpose of UNESCO to build the foundations of peace." versus "evaluate on a case-by-case basis, and here's the set of procedures to follow".

Author Alikander99
Partaker
#4 | Posted: 23 Jan 2023 04:47 
Well that's a radical change of perspective...
I'm curious about how UNESCO/ICOMOS will judge the reconciliation process. I've seen great examples, but also terrible ones.
Btw, I haven't visited any WW1 memorials and i'm a bit converted about what's their take on the war. France can be a tad over-patriotic with this kind of things.

Author elsslots
Admin
#5 | Posted: 23 Jan 2023 04:50 | Edited by: elsslots 
elsslots:
- "Recent" = 20th century or later

The whole issue seems to be about the age of the 'event', as not enough time may have passed to reconcile and interpretation may upset the 'other side'.
In that case, starting at the hard date of the year 1900 is not the right one, better would have been "in the past 100 years" or so (so that it moves along with the passing of time). This way also, WWI would be left out. I can't see what kind of reconciliation would still have to be done about that.

Unhappy memories from an earlier date (the List is full of fortifications made to be used in battles for example, but also the anti-slavery memorials) are no problem so it seems.

Author elsslots
Admin
#6 | Posted: 23 Jan 2023 04:58 | Edited by: elsslots 
Alikander99:
Btw, I haven't visited any WW1 memorials and i'm a bit converted about what's their take on the war

Read Hubert's review. He captures it very well.
And also Solivagant's review on the Belgian side is recommended. It also draws comparisons to the memorials in Turkey and Russia.

Author elsslots
Admin
#7 | Posted: 23 Jan 2023 05:08 
elsslots:
Also, another country can object (they have a form for that now)!

It would be good if others besides countries could object as well. That would open a can of (NGO) worms, but how can you otherwise evaluate an object related to a civil war or internal conflict? Thinking about the Rwandan genocide sites and Argentina's ESMA as well.

Author Alikander99
Partaker
#8 | Posted: 23 Jan 2023 05:09 
I agree that the hard date approach has serious downfalls, though i'm not sure 100 years IS enough healing procces. About the reconciliation process I'm worried WW1 memorials might be presented in a partial light. Imo to correctly represent the war you'd need to recognise the central power losses and afaik the memorials are solely dedicated to the entente. I agree that the reconciliation process was finished long ago, but It wasn't when some of the memorials were built (Thiepval memorial IS from 1932). I'm worried that fact might not be put into perspective.

Author elsslots
Admin
#9 | Posted: 23 Jan 2023 05:13 
Alikander99:
afaik the memorials are solely dedicated to the entente.

No they are not.

Author Alikander99
Partaker
#10 | Posted: 23 Jan 2023 05:47 | Edited by: Alikander99 
elsslots
Yeah, now I know. I've read Hubert's and solivagant's reviews (thanks for that) and It looks nice, but just as solivagant i'm left a bit unsure. Perhaps the moratorium shouldn't have been lifted. As for the objection being reserved to countries I agree that's a flaw, but I Guess in practice we might see countries objecting on moral grounds, even without any connection to the conflict. Also I would be very surprised if neither Belgium nor france had something to say about the rwandan sites as they had an important role in the conflict.

Author elsslots
Admin
#11 | Posted: 23 Jan 2023 12:30 | Edited by: elsslots 
An amendment (initiated by Argentina) has been published today, which says
"in reference to the nominations mentioned in paragraph 9 above and taking into account the exceptional circumstances which affected the timetable for such nominations, the procedures will be applied so as to allow, for those States Parties which have requested it at the present extraordinary session, the examination of their nominations by the Committee at its 45th session."

I guess this means that in case Rwanda, France etc will raise its hand tomorrow, their adjourned nominations will be discussed later this year too? Argentina's ESMA site was already foreseen anyway.

Author elsslots
Admin
#12 | Posted: 24 Jan 2023 11:54 | Edited by: elsslots 
The draft decision, including the amendment of Argentina, was just approved.

To quote Solivagant:
Solivagant:
what was all the fuss about?

They really only are interested in having more and more sites for their own country, so everybody's happy. The (far more specific) conclusions of the 2020 study will fade into the background.

In this case:
1. The moratorium has been lifted
2. These specific sites will be evaluated on a "case-by-case" basis -> as are all other nominations, so no special status here
3. You only have to fill in some extra paragraphs in the nomination dossier. But who is going to question/challenge those?

Author elsslots
Admin
#13 | Posted: 24 Jan 2023 12:24 | Edited by: elsslots 
The adjourned sites that I expect to see back in September are:
- Belgium/France: WWI memorials
- France: D-Day landing sites
- Romania: L'ensemble monumental de Tirgu Jiu
- Rwanda: Genocide sites (never discussed or icomos evaluation seen)

Poland may put Gdansk forward again too: it was adjourned 'sine die' (and without explanation) in 2021. In the ICOMOS evaluation is stated that "some of the issues raised by this nomination are similar to those emerging for sites associated with negative or divisive memories of recent conflicts."

Author jonathanfr
Partaker
#14 | Posted: 24 Jan 2023 12:25 
Perhaps we should add the sites in paragraph 9 to the following page:

https://www.worldheritagesite.org/nominated/2023

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#15 | Posted: 24 Jan 2023 12:25 | Edited by: Solivagant 
None of the 6 sites currently up for consideration are likely to cause a problem
a. 3 of them relate to "internal struggles" so there is no international issue . I am not sure that any really have "OUV" - with ESME being the least
Rwanda - Genocide
South Africa - Mandela
Argentina - ESME

b. 3 relate to international conflicts which are long ago and for which "reconciliation" largely complete and no combatant is going to argue
Brancusi - has OUV very much in its own artistic right rather than because of the circumstances of it being a WWI memorial
WWI Memorials - Much of the OUV relates to genuine architectural matters
WWII landings - IMO this is less justified than the WWI memorials. Russia of course sees these as very much a very late sideshow whilst it was really fighting the Nazis. It probably wont argue against because it will want Mamayev Kurgan........ We can expect to see "Mother Russia" up for nomination very soon and who can argue?

What about the Existing T List not covered by today's agreement
Cabo Verde - Tarrafal Concentration Camp. I doubt if Portugal would fight it
Cambodia - Tuol Sleng - internal conflict so will get through?
India - Cellular Jail. UK wouldn't oppose
Poland - Gdansk. I can't really see any great opposition
Russia - Mamayev Kurgan - far too Nationalist in IMO but Russia wouldn't agree
Turkey - Gallipoli - if WWI memorials are ok then this must be too
US - Civil Rights

But where Next...... a few quick thoughts from me....
China - Unit 731. Will Japan be happy?
Palestine - Dheisheh Refugee Camp. A good stick to beat Israel with
Kazakhstan - KarLag, (Karaganda Corrective Labour Camp).
USA - USS Arizona
USA - Trinity
India - Amritsar Massacre site
Algeria - Martyr's Memorial.
Canada/Australia - there must be plenty of potential sites to represent the "bad treatment"/massacres of native peoples.
UK and others - Cold war sites
Ireland - Kilmainham Jail and other revolutionary sites.
DPRK - Kim Il Sung Memorial

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