UNESCO chief decries 'cultural cleansing' in IS video

The leader of the UN cultural agency is denouncing the Islamic State group's destruction of ancient statues and artifacts as "cultural cleansing" and a war crime that the world must punish.

PTI| Last Updated: Feb 27, 2015, 21:50 PM IST

Paris: The leader of the UN cultural agency is denouncing the Islamic State group's destruction of ancient statues and artifacts as "cultural cleansing" and a war crime that the world must punish.

Irina Bokova, director-general of Paris-based UNESCO, said she couldn't finish watching an Islamic State video posted this week that shows men using sledgehammers to smash the Mesopotamian artworks in Iraq's northern city of Mosul.

Speaking to reporters today, Bokova announced the creation of a "global coalition against the illicit traffic in cultural goods." She has asked for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on protecting Iraq's cultural heritage.

The extremists who have seized parts of Iraq and Syria appear to be trying to cleanse the region of ideas they consider un-Islamic, including artworks, library books and relics.