Home > Local News > UNESCO designates special envoy for Hindu temple damaged in border clashes

UNESCO designates special envoy for Hindu temple damaged in border clashes

UNITED NATIONS (BNO NEWS) — The United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Friday designated a
Special Envoy to address the Preah Vihear Temple which was damaged
during recent border clashes between Cambodia and Thailand.
Koichiro Matsuura, former Director-General of UNESCO, was named
Special Envoy and will visit Bangkok and Phnom Penh to discuss the
safety of the Hindu temple inscribed on the World Heritage List.
Matsuura will examine with both Cambodia and Thailand how to lessen
tension between the two sides as well as promote dialogue for the
preservation of the 11th century temple.
On Tuesday, UNESCO announced that it would send a mission to assess
the damage caused by the recent armed clashes between the two
South-East Asian neighbors to the temple. The Preah Vihear Temple was
inscribed on the World Heritage List in July 2008.
Cambodian-Thai tensions first escalated in 2008 following the
build-up of military forces near the temple, which dates back to the
11th century and is located on the Cambodian side of the border.
Last week, fighting erupted between Cambodian and Thai soldiers
along the border between Thailand’s Si Sa Ket province and Cambodia’s
Preah Vihear province. One Thai soldier, one civilian and at least
three Cambodians were reportedly killed Friday and Saturday in
exchanges of small arms and artillery fire. 
On Saturday, Thailand and Cambodia agreed on a ceasefire both the
fighting resumed on Sunday. Each side blamed the other for initiating
the shooting. The fire exchange has already caused severe damage to
Cambodia’s Preah Vihear Temple.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called both sides for restraint as
clashes resumed on Monday and have continued in recent days. UNESCO
Director-General Irina Bokova called for calm as well.
The Hindu temple was dedicated to Shiva and is composed of a series
of sanctuaries linked by a system of pavements and staircases over an
800-metre-long axis. The temple dates back to the first half of the
11th century AD. The site is exceptional for the quality of its carved
stone ornamentation and its architecture, adapted to the natural
environment and the religious function of the temple.
Source: Island Crisis
Categories: Local News
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