Address of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Humanitarian and Information Policy to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Tourism Organization, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), the International Council for the Protection of Monuments and Cultural Heritage historical sites (ICOMOS), the International Council of Museums (ICOM), the International Centre for the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), the Cannes Film Festival - in connection with the military aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine
On February 24, 2022, Russia, without officially declaring war, began bombing peaceful Ukrainian cities. This full-scale war concerns not only the army but also the civilian population. In just 14 days of war, the Russian occupiers killed more than 1,500 civilians. Some cities have been completely destroyed, as well as the lives of their inhabitants.
There are already 2.5 million forced refugees. Mostly they are mothers with children who wanted to live peacefully on their land. It is also a tragedy that most Ukrainian families have been destroyed, as the men went to the front to protect the future of their children. The children who wanted to study, travel the world, read books, go to museums. But the aggression of the Russian Federation took away this chance from them, and from somebody else even their lives.
The events that are taking place now have already left a dramatic impact on the lives of all citizens of Ukraine, especially children.
We also note that since the beginning of the war, as of 7 March, 2022, as many as 211 schools in Ukraine have been destroyed. The occupiers are damaging and destroying cultural heritage sites, as well as shrines that are war crimes.
In view of the above, we ask you to deprive the Russian Federation of membership in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the World Tourism Organization, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, the International Council for the Protection of Monuments and Sites, the International Council of Museums, the International Centre for the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, and participation in the Cannes Film Festival.
Is there a place in such organizations for the state that destroys kindergartens, schools, higher education institutions, museums and monuments, churches, mosques, synagogues and other religious buildings? Russia is aggressive towards Ukraine's desire to preserve its language, culture and traditions, so we are convinced that it cannot be a member of international organizations that promote eradication of illiteracy, cultural development, protection and promotion of art monuments and more.
The Committee on Humanitarian and Information Policy supports the processes of deprivation of membership of the Russian Federation as an aggressor state, which have already begun or have been initiated in these organisations.
Thus, an extraordinary meeting of the Executive Council of the World Tourism Organization took place in Madrid, where a decision was made in favour of suspending the membership of the Russian Federation in this organization. The Executive Council calls on Russia to cease hostilities immediately and to resolve the situation peacefully. Of the 18 countries that took part in the vote, 13 voted in favour of terminating the Russian Federation's membership in the World Tourism Organization. Five countries voted against this decision, including Russia, China, Zambia, South Africa and the UAE. The final decision is to be made by the General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), which will be convened in the near future at the extraordinary meeting.
The Ukrainian Library Association appealed to the Board and members of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions to exclude the Russian Library Association and all institutions of the aggressor country from membership in this organization, and their representatives from all governing bodies. The appeal states that Ukraine is supported by the entire civilized world. The association notes that it receives many letters of support from library associations (including members of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) and librarians from different countries. They provide information, spreading the truth about Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, and offer assistance in accommodating Ukrainian refugees. At the same time, the Association notes with regret that Russian librarians and the Russian Library Association do not react in any way to the situation.
In addition, the Ukrainian National Committee of ICOMOS appealed to the International Council for the Protection of Monuments and Sites, UNESCO and other international organizations to change the host country for the 45th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, and to stop joint projects with Russian state museums, first of all with the State Hermitage and other Russian organisations, which also support Russia's state policy in the occupied territories and still carry imperial cultural and historical narratives to other countries.