At the end of a UNESCO conference in Mexico City, representatives of numerous countries protested against Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine. Dozens of delegates temporarily left the hall on Friday (local time) when the Russian representative took the floor. The boycott took place during the final session of the Mondiacult world conference on cultural policy and sustainable development, convened by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in Mexico City. Representatives from around 120 countries took part in the three-day event.
Lithuanian Culture Minister Simonas Kairys first denounced Moscow's "unjustified and illegal aggression" against Ukraine on behalf of 48 countries and called on Russia to withdraw from the neighboring country. Kairys, speaking on behalf of the European Union, Canada, the United States, Japan and others, said that since the Russian invasion on February 24, Unesco has identified at least 193 Ukrainian cultural sites, including museums, libraries, cultural centers and historical buildings, damaged and looted have.
When the Russian delegate Sergei Obivalin took the floor and dismissed the criticism as "unacceptable" to the plenary, dozens of participants stood up and left the meeting room.
The Unesco meeting, which has been described as the largest of its kind in 40 years, finally ended with 150 countries adopting a declaration reaffirming culture as a "global public good". The signatories called for "substantial regulation of the digital sector, particularly the big platforms, to benefit online cultural diversity, artists' intellectual property rights and fair access to content for all.
Governments also pledged to step up the fight against the illicit trade in cultural objects and appealed to art dealers not to offer objects of unknown provenance for sale. Unesco announced the creation of a virtual museum for stolen cultural objects in cooperation with Interpol.
Sources: Mondiacult SC on Youtube, "Al Arabiya News"