June 21, 2021

Unesco removes the Aalst Carnival in Belgium from its list of heritage by racism

The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Unesco removed this Friday from its Representative List the Carnival of Aalst, in Belgium, for xenophobic and anti-Semitic demonstrations.

"Following a request submitted by the Unesco Secretariat, the Committee supported its decision that the recurring repetitions of racist and anti-Semitic representations observed at the Carnival are incompatible with the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Cultural Heritage of Humanity, "Unesco said in a statement.

Since last Monday, the XIV Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Unesco is held in Bogotá, in which new cultural events were included in its Representative List and the status of others was reviewed.

The agency noted that, according to an article of the 2003 Convention, manifestations that are compatible with "existing international human rights instruments" will be considered "only" as intangible cultural heritage.

Likewise, it highlights that these expressions must comply with the "imperatives of mutual respect between communities, groups and individuals."

"Unesco is faithful to its foundational principles of dignity, equality and mutual respect among peoples and condemns any form of racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia," the information added.

The Aalst Carnival, a city in the Belgian province of East Flanders, had been inscribed on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2010.

The Israeli ambassador to Colombia, Christian Cantor, thanked the decision of the member countries of the Committee, considering that with it a "strong message" is sent that these racist and anti-Semitic expressions do not fit in the "cultural world" for "strong and offensive. "

"The Aalst Carnival showed strong stereotypical expressions against the Jewish people and the Shoá (Holocaust), inciting hatred and racism. These expressions have no place in the contemporary world, much less after the Holocaust that was born of racism and anti-Semitism" said Cantor.

The diplomat also said that by removing that Belgian holiday from the List of Intangible Heritage, a "clear moral stance against racism, anti-Semitism and any sign of hatred" is demonstrated.

During the meeting of the Committee in Bogotá, which will end tomorrow, Unesco made the decision to include 35 candidates in that list, including the handmade manufacture of Talaveran style pottery from the Spanish towns of Talavera de la Reina and Puente del Arzobispo and of the Mexican states of Puebla and Tlaxcala.

Similarly, the agency entered the Register of Good Practices for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Heritage the biocultural program for the safeguarding of the tradition of the "Blessed Palm" of Venezuela and the strategy of safeguarding traditional handicrafts for the construction of the peace of Colombia.

. (tagsToTranslate) Unesco (t) Carnival (t) Aalst (t) Belgium (t) heritage

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