Preserving Libya's Cultural Heritage: LFJL launches Tourathna

February 17, 2020

On the ninth anniversary of the 17 February uprisings in Libya, Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL) announces the launch of its new platform Tourathna, dedicated to preserving and showcasing Libyan cultural heritage.

The right to access and enjoy cultural heritage is a human right guaranteed by international law: Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.” In addition, Article 5 of the 2001 UNESCO Declaration on Cultural Diversity guarantees the right of access to, participation in and enjoyment of culture, cultural heritage and expressions.  

“Cultural heritage is an important representation of the social fabric that shapes the unique identities of communities. The opportunity to access and enjoy the culture of a country is an important part of being a citizen and a member of a community”, said Natalie Mazur, Senior Programme Lead on Accountability and Transitional Justice at LFJL. “LFJL believes that cultural identity and heritage help unite people as a nation and can also play an important role in future transitional justice initiatives; this is why we created Tourathna,” she added.

Currently, Libyan cultural heritage is being destroyed by the ongoing conflict both incidentally, through neglect, insecurity and lack of resources, and intentionally, through the targeting of indigenous groups or historical sites. Compiling and preserving the memory of cultural pieces during conflict facilitates an understanding of what certain groups experienced and how they managed to cope and foster resilience. Preserving memories, physical sites, objects and intangible heritage may also help serve as a basis for developing a post-war identity and reconstructing the social fabric that was destroyed during more than 40 years of dictatorship and the subsequent conflict.

Through this platform, LFJL aims to facilitate the collection and preservation of cultural pieces and strives to ensure as many regions as possible are represented. This project was made possible by LFJL’s partnership with Fergiani Books and Darf Publishers, which share a common vision of the importance of preserving cultural heritage for present and future generations.

“Platforms like Tourathna will have the ability to reach people and creators who can have direct access, whether it's art, music or literature, and also preserve it for generations to come”, said Ghazi Gheblawi of Darf Publishers.

Tourathna’s success will come from its inclusivity and diversity and so LFJL calls on all who want to preserve Libyan culture and cultural heritage to join us and make submissions to Tourathna , and let us know what you think.

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