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Bid to protect underwater heritage

BAHRAIN is set to sign United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) conventions that protect the country's underwater heritage.

The four agreements include those that safeguard maritime industries and artefacts at sea.

They were referred by the Ministerial Committee for Legal Affairs and approved during yesterday's weekly Cabinet session at Gudaibiya Palace.

The National Assembly will revise them when it reconvenes next month.

Minister of State for Information Affairs and official government spokeswoman Sameera Rajab said the four conventions would come under the Culture Ministry.

"The first convention on the protection of intangible cultural heritage aims to honour the intangible cultural heritage of individuals and groups, create more awareness on both the local and international levels on the importance of such heritage besides mutual appreciation and international co-operation and assistance," she said.

"The second on the protection of underwater heritage aims to promote and protect underwater cultural heritage like sunken ships and buried artefacts and treasures, besides co-operation and exchange of information in underwater archaeology training and educating the public on its significance.

"The third on the means of prohibiting and preventing illicit import, export and transfer of cultural ownership will see administrative sanctions or penalties imposed by the state."

She said the fourth focuses on diversity of cultural expression and aims to create the conditions that guarantee the prosperity of cultures and their free interaction.

"It also encourages dialogue between cultures to ensure wider scale and a more balanced cultural exchange in the world, as a basis for mutual respect between cultures and promoting cultural communication."

"With this approval, Bahrain is in line with the Unesco Convention for the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage adopted in Paris on November 12, 2012," the spokesperson said.

She added the Cabinet approved the Unesco convention on the means of prohibiting and preventing the illicit import, export and transfer of ownership of Cultural Property, and the Unesco convention on protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions.

"With this, Bahrain accedes to the Unesco Convention for Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, adopted in Paris on October 20, 2005," she said.

"Accession to these conventions will promote Bahrain regionally and internationally in the field of heritage conservation."



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