Decision of the Bureau: 14.COM 1.BUR 4

The Bureau,

  1. Recalling the discussions held during the thirteenth session of the Committee (26 November to 1 December 2018, Port Louis, Republic of Mauritius) on issues concerning the follow-up of inscribed elements on the Lists of the Convention (document ITH/18/13.COM/9) as well as Decision 13.COM 9,
  2. Further recalling UNESCO’s founding principles of dignity, equality and mutual respect amongst peoples as reflected in the preamble of the Organization’s Constitution,
  3. Also recalling the requirements of mutual respect among communities, groups and individuals as stipulated under Article 2 of the Convention,
  4. Condemns all forms of racism, antisemitism, islamophobia and xenophobia;
  5. Calls on all States Parties to ensure that elements inscribed on the Lists of the Convention respect the Ethical Principles for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage;
  6. Notes that a series of correspondences was received by the Secretariat from the public and institutions regarding the Aalst carnival (inscribed in 2010 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity), expressing serious concerns about the display of alleged racist and anti-Semitic caricatures on some floats used for the 2019 edition of the carnival, and expresses concerns that this has become a recurrent issue also observed in 2013;
  7. Acknowledges the communiqué published by UNESCO on 6 March 2019 condemning the racist and anti-Semitic nature of some representations at the Aalst carnival in Belgium that go against the values of respect and dignity embodied by UNESCO and are counter to the principles that underpin the intangible cultural heritage of humanity;
  8. Takes note of the statement given by the Ambassador of Belgium and encourages the national authorities of Belgium to address the concerns raised;
  9. Requests that the Secretariat inscribe an item on the provisional agenda of the fourteenth session of the Committee (9 to 14 December 2019, Bogotá, Colombia) in order to raise the case of the Aalst carnival in the context of the follow-up of inscribed elements on the Lists of the Convention, which includes the possibility of removing elements from the Lists of the Convention in accordance with paragraph 40 of the Operational Directives.