First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Ivica Dacic met today with UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights Karima Bennoune who is on a visit to the Republic of Serbia, including Kosovo and Metohija, from 3-14 October.
During the final meeting, held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the presence of representatives from state institutions’ relevant sectors having been engaged in relation to the visit, Minister Dacic expressed gratitude to the Special Rapporteur for her visit, underlining its importance considering that this was the first visit under Human Rights Council Special Procedures to the Republic of Serbia as well as its significance in the context of the complexity of cultural heritage and monuments protection, which was in particular the case in Kosovo and Metohija.
Minister Dacic presented a historical background for getting to know the diverse Serbian cultural heritage, including the heritage in Kosovo and Metohija. In this regard, he put special emphasis on the state of the endangered monuments in Kosovo and Metogija, and on the importance of their preservation and protection being carried out by all actors.
Karima Bennoune expressed her gratitude for the good cooperation. During her visit she had talks with representatives of the Government, independent institutions, local self-governments, national minority councils and of the civil society, endeavouring to determine how certain measures, the legal framework, institutions and other relevant bodies in charge of protection of cultural heritage and discrimination issues contributed to the exercise of cultural rights and the promotion of diversity on a daily basis. Considering that the visit focused on cultural heritage being deliberately destroyed, she pointed to the complexity of the issues in this sphere, particularly in Kosovo and Metohija.
Among the key messages the visit has sent was one saying that high politicization has been noted in relation to cultural heritage issues, negatively affecting their protection. UN Special Rapporteur Karima Bennoune pointed out that further work would follow on resolving these issues and that she would, prior to completion of her report on the visit to Serbia, submit its draft version to our side for comments and suggestions.