Decision of the Bureau: 17.COM 5.BUR 5

The Bureau,

  1. Having examined document LHE/22/17.COM 5.BUR/5 and its annexes (I to III),
  2. Recalling Decisions 3.COM 1, 13.COM 9, 14.COM 14, 16.COM 11, Resolution 9.GA 9 and paragraphs 40.1 to 40.3 of the Operational Directives,
  3. Further recalling that ‘Processional giants and dragons in Belgium and France’ (Belgium and France) was incorporated in 2008 in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity,
  4. Takes note that in 2022 the Secretariat registered a series of correspondence from the third parties condemning the ‘Sauvage’ character of the procession that takes place in the town of Ath (Belgium) as representing a form of racism and discrimination, and requesting the removal of the Ducasse of Ath from the Representative List, and that the Secretariat transmitted the removal requests to the State Party of Belgium;
  5. Further takes note that the State Party of Belgium replied in response to the removal requests and provided information on the reflection process initiated at the community level in order to address the concerns raised;
  6. Considers that the allegations of racism and discrimination are an extremely serious matter that touch upon 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;
  7. Recommends that, in accordance with paragraph 40.2 (e) of the Operational Directives, the removal requests concerning the Ducasse of Ath be included in the provisional agenda of the seventeenth session of the Committee.