ARTS & CULTURE
08/26/2011 05:45 pm ET Updated 6 days ago

Libya's Cultural Heritage In Danger, Director Of UNESCO Releases Statement

The current political and social upheaval in Libya has brought worries the destruction of its cultural property. Libya has five UNESCO World Heritage sites and in a statement released by Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO, the organization "calls on the people of Libya, on neighboring countries and all those involved in the international art and antiquities trade to do all they can to protect Libya’s invaluable cultural heritage."

Bokova adds, "experience shows that there is a serious danger of destruction during times of social upheaval. It has taught us to look out for looting by unscrupulous individuals, that often damages the integrity of artifacts and of archaeological sites." This issue came to the forefront this year in Cairo, when the riots facilitated the theft of 18 pieces from the Egyptian Museum. Bokova then offered UNESCOS's assistance moving forward in order to assess damages and also take preventive measures to assure the safety of these sites.

See this UNESCO video of Libyan World Heritage site Leptis Magna for a glimpse at one of the cultural sites in question: