Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

IESCO Condemns Houthi Pillaging of Yemen’s Historic Zabid Library

IESCO Condemns Houthi Pillaging of Yemen’s Historic Zabid Library

Tuesday, 22 January, 2019 - 11:15
The ancient city of Zabid in Yemen’s western Hodeidah province is a UNESCO World Heritage Site famed as an architectural marvel of early Islam. (AFP)

The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (IESCO) condemned Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen for stealing manuscripts, historical and scientific books and artifacts from the historic library of Zabid.

The stolen items were valuable artifacts of Zabid, which was the capital of Yemen during the 13th and 15th centuries.

The theft of such heritage constitutes a crime against the Yemeni civilizations and a violation of international declarations and agreements, ISESCO director general Abdulaziz bin Othaman Al-Twajairi said.

Zabid is one of the oldest towns in Yemen, located in Hodeidah province, and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993.

Al-Twajairi also called on the United Nations and other international organizations, especially UNESCO, to intervene to force Houthi militias to return the stolen items as they are part of human cultural heritage for which The Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict criminalizes all attacks against it.

According to Yemeni and military sources, the pro-Iranian group not only looted books and archaeological manuscripts containing the history and civilization of the historic city, but even stole the library’s power generator.

The Houthi group has been stealing large quantities of Yemeni antiquities from museums and archaeological sites and, according to the legitimate government, has set up networks to smuggle antiquities and sell them in black markets abroad.

The group, according to Yemeni observers, is trying to blur the historical identity of Yemen in hopes of establishing sectarianism derived from Khomeini-inspired doctrines in Iran.

Editor Picks