After 32 years of discussions on how to protect the heritage of Kurdistan, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has released a set of guidelines aimed at the management and preservation of heritage and culture in the region.
The guidelines include the handling and preservation of monuments, how to address violations and encroachments, and they then establish rules and penalties.
The penalties apply to anyone who destroys or damages heritage sites that represent historical significance for the Kurdish people. Those who fail to follow these rules will be put in prison for 10 years, no matter how small or big the damage is.
Keyfi Mustafa, Director General of Archeology and Culture at the Ministry, emphasized the importance of these guidelines for safeguarding thousands of monuments in the Kurdistan Region.
She added that “this decision will also improve the tourism movement in the country. Tourists come to Kurdistan to visit ancient buildings and monuments that represent the history of its people.”
Antisar Ahmed, retired Iraqi archeologist, stated that, “I have been working in this field for 20 years and I was always waiting for the government to take action against those who don’t care about the heritage of the country.”
Kurds still remain in need of clues to prove their existence from the 10th to 16th centuries. Kurdistan is home to ancient ethnicities that have been absorbed into modern cultures, including those of what is now Azerbaijan, Turkey, Iran, and the many modern home countries of Arab peoples. This is why setting strict guidelines is important to protecting the history of the Kurds.