- Having examined document LHE/19/14.COM/12 and its Addendum,
- Recalling Decisions 7.COM 11, 7.COM 15 and 14.COM 1.BUR 4, as well as paragraph 40 of the Operational Directives,
- Further recalling that the Aalst carnival was inscribed in 2010 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity on the basis of the nomination submitted by Belgium (Decision 5.COM 6.3),
- Also recalling UNESCO’s founding principles of dignity, equality and mutual respect amongst peoples as reflected in the preamble of the Organization’s Constitution, as well as the requirements of mutual respect among communities, groups and individuals as stipulated under Article 2 of the Convention and acknowledging the communiqués published by UNESCO on 6 March and 22 March 2019,
- Condemns all forms of discrimination, including racism, antisemitism, islamophobia and xenophobia;
- Takes note of the note verbale of 5 December 2019 sent by the Permanent Delegation of the Kingdom of Belgium to UNESCO to the Secretariat of the Convention requesting that the Aalst carnival be removed from the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity at the request of the city of Aalst and on behalf of the community of the Aalst carnival;
- Considers, based on the elements brought to its attention by the Bureau and the Secretariat, that the ‘Aalst carnival’ no longer satisfies criteria for inscription R.1 as well as R.2 of the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity as follows:
R.1: Since its inscription, the Aalst carnival has on several occasions displayed messages, images and representations that can be considered within and outside of the community as encouraging stereotypes, mocking certain groups and insulting the memories of painful historical experiences including genocide, slavery and racial segregation. These acts, whether or not intentional, contradict the requirements of mutual respect among communities, groups and individuals. The Aalst carnival no longer satisfies criterion R.1.
R.2: Offensive representations have been used on several occasions during the Aalst carnival since its inscription on the Representative List. The inscription does not appear to have encouraged dialogue among communities and has even fostered mistrust between and among communities. The Aalst carnival no longer satisfies criterion R.2.