In Response to Simon Wiesenthal Center Protest: UNESCO Postpones June World Heritage Committee Slated to be Hosted by Russia
May 2, 2022
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has postponed the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee scheduled for Russia following a protest from the Simon Wiesenthal Center. The Center expressed outrage over Russia’s war crimes and its horrific invasion of Ukraine in a March 15, 2022 letter to UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay.
“We commend UNESCO Director-General Madame Audrey Azoulay for doing the right thing and signaling to the world that it will not be business as usual as long as Russia’s horrific war crimes and invasion of a peaceful nation continue unabated,” declared Rabbi Marvin Hier, CEO & Founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Dr. Shimon Samuels, SWC’s Director for International Relations, wrote a letter of protest to UNESCO on March 15, 2022, urging the conference be moved from Russia as Putin’s war crimes were unfolding. In that letter, SWC called on UNESCO to cancel the conference in Kazan, Russia, informing Director-General Azoulay that the Wiesenthal Center, as an NGO with the status of Associate Partner to UNESCO, would not attend the session if it was to be held this year in Russia.
On May 2, 2022, UNESCO responded to Dr. Samuels, confirming that the agency has postponed the 45th session of the committee, which was scheduled to take place from June 19-30 in Kazan, Russia.
“We applaud UNESCO’s commitment in its May 2nd letter to SWC that, ‘In these difficult times, it is determined to support Ukraine in all spheres of the Organization’s competence,’” Dr. Samuels concluded.
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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is an international Jewish human rights organization numbering over 400.000 members. It holds consultative status at the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, the OAS and the Latin American Parliament (PARLATINO).