A note from the President of ICOMOS/Brazil:
“The International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), an advisory body to UNESCO, through its Vice-Presidency for the Americas and its Brazilian Committee, has come to express its deepest repudiation to the terrorist attack and the attempt to promote itself see a coup d’état in Brazil, which, in 08 of January 2023, resulted in extensive destruction of the buildings and works of art, parts of the modern ensemble of Brasilia, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
First, and until today only, modern city to receive such honor, Brasília was registered on this list on December 07, 1987, from the initiative of the then governor of the Federal District, José Aparecido de Oliveira, approved by the Patrim Committee UNESCO World World Event based on extensive prepared documentation through Brazil and in the report of architect Léon Pressouyre, from our institution, who has the mission to evaluate this type of candidacy.
As UNESCO records, Brasília, a capital created ex nihilo in the center of the country in 1956, represents a milestone in the history of urban planning, in which the urban designer Lucio Costa and architect Oscar Niemeyer took care of that each element the – structure of the residential and administrative sectors to the very symmetry of the buildings – it was in harmony with the overall project of the city. Official buildings, which are recognized as “innovative and imaginative” are also given great emphasis by UNESCO.
Brasília is undoubtedly “a unique artistic achievement, a masterpiece of the human genius, representing on an urban scale, the living expression of the principles and ideals brought by the Modern Movement, and effectively embodied in the tropics through from urban planning and architectural by Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer”. These principles are reflected, thus, not only in the urban design of the city, but in the “buildings of the three powers (Palácio do Planalto, Supreme Federal Court and Congress, with its two towers flanked by the dome of the Senate building and pel the inverted dome of the Chamber)”.
In this way, the terrorist attack, today perpetrated by the anti-democratic forces against the modern set of Brasilia, registered by UNESCO, represent not only an assault on the people and the Brazilian cultural heritage, but a crime against humanity of like a whole. On the occasion, ICOMOS recalls that crimes against cultural heritage are also considered serious crimes against human rights, as recognizes the 2003 UN Declaration on the Intentional Destruction of Cultural Heritage, which the confirms that cultural heritage “is an important component of cultural identity of communities, groups and people, and/or social cohesion”. Thus, these crimes are now liable to trial by the International Penal Court (ICC), which in 2016, in a landmark precedent, convicted Ahmad al-Faqi Al Mahdi for war crimes, for destroying important historic buildings in the city of Timbuktu and Mali.
In this sense, alongside the repudiation of the crimes committed, we express our solidarity with the people and the Brazilian government, and we put ourselves at their disposal to, through the international and national heritage experts, gathered in our org annization, in conjunction with the National Institute of Historical and Artistic Heritage (IPHAN), to contribute for the recovery of this important heritage of humanity.”
January 08, 2023
Leonardo Barci Castriota
ICOMOS Vice President for the Americas
Flavius of Lemos Carsalade
President of ICOMOS/BRAZIL