Unesco will charge explanations on demolition of Indian Museum

Unesco will charge explanations on demolition of Indian Museum

Entity resembles that landscape between mountain and sea ‘ in Rio was declared and will question the Government.

January 16, 2013 | 12:30
Foto: Agência Brasil

The United Nations Educational, scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will send a letter to the Government requesting explanations about the probable demolition of old Indian Museum, on the outskirts of Maracanã, told BBC Brazil a spokesman.

The Government of Rio de Janeiro, with the support of City Hall, would be decided to demolish the building for the construction of a parking lot on site as part of the modernization works of the Maracana Stadium for the 2014 World Cup, contrary to the guidance of the Municipal Council of Cultural Heritage Protection, which calls for the preservation of the building, for 150 years.

“We will check if the area of the building that must be demolished part of the region of Rio de Janeiro that is part of the Unesco World Heritage list,” said Roni Amelan, the sector for external relations and public information.

In July last year, the urban landscapes of Rio de Janeiro  “between the mountain and the sea”  became a world heritage site.

Protected regions of the river by Unesco are numerous and gathering areas like Tijuca National Park, the Botanical Garden, the Corcovado and the landscapes.

In practice, if the space occupied by the old Indian Museum does not lie in the region protected by the Unesco World Heritage site, the entity will not be able to act in this case “not to interfere with national sovereignty” of Brazil, which claims Amelan.

“If the building is on the inscribed on World Heritage list, Brazil has the legal obligation to preserve it,” he says.

Moral obligation

“But Unesco recalls that Brazil has signed the World Heritage Convention, 1972, cultural and natural, and, for this reason, it also has a moral obligation to respect the overall heritage,” he says. 

He also notes that the World Heritage Committee of Unesco advocates for years the need to include the local communities in the process of preservation of cultural heritage, linking them to the local protection.

“In the past, there have been cases in which, in order to preserve a building, communities were removed from the area. The heritage preservation must take into account local populations, “Amelan said.

The old building of the Indian Museum is occupied by dozens of Indians from different ethnic groups and members of social movements, threatened expulsion today.

The letter requesting information will be sent to Brazil’s diplomatic representation at Unesco, in Paris.

The Brazilian authorities ‘ response will be examined by the World Heritage Committee of Unesco, which shall take a decision on the issue.



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