Call to preserve the ancient manuscripts of Timbuktu and Mali

In recent days, fighting in and around Timbuktu has led to serious concerns about the safety of the tens of thousands of ancient manuscripts there. What is in danger is the written legacy attesting to an unprecedented intellectual and cultural expansion over the past centuries. This intellectual capital is a reflection of the continued contribution of Africans to world civilization. It is also a reflection of the pioneering place of Africa in the very foundations of writing and the spiritual and cultural development of mankind. If this heritage were to disappear, the development of African historiography would be seriously compromised and an important part of the world memory would be annihilated.


Given this situation, we address a solemn appeal to the belligerents to respect and protect the cultural heritage property held in Timbuktu, including elements of the World Heritage List of UNESCO and ancient manuscript collections in libraries, in accordance with the International Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the event of conflict.


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