Demolition of Dibba Castle in Roas Al-Jabal(Musandam)

articls 6:49 AM human rights

12th June 2017

Preamble

History and historical relics have become part of human life and fundamental rights of all peoples. This is one of the reasons that UNESCO continues to support people to save their cultural and historical heritage. In fact, cultural heritage for all people represents their history, community and their own identity. The phrase "cultural heritage" is generally understood to describe ‘objects inherited from past generations that relate to a society's cultural development’. It includes ‘’monuments, groups of buildings, and sites’’, "which are of outstanding universal value from the point of view of history, art or science"' (Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, 1972). In addition, the international community exposes international law on two sides if historical buildings such as castles are threatened, one of the sides is called international law for protecting cultural heritage in peacetime. The word "peacetime" means the absence of an international war. The term "peacetime threat" refers to a threat not motivated by warfare. Therefore, a state could be involved in a civil war as long as destruction of the cultural heritage was not motivated by the armed conflict. However, if cultural heritage is targeted or destroyed in peacetime systematically by political logic of authorities toward people, it is a violation of international human rights law.

The Dibba Castle in Roas Al-Jabal

The Dibba Castle in Roas Al-Jabal is located in the South of Roas Al-Jabal (Musandam) region and North of Dibba Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimahin the UAE. The exact history for the Dibba Castle is unknown, but the Castle plays a role in building the patriotic spirit of the citizens. The castle was facing marginalisation since 1971 despite its old history. However, the beginning of official neglect was during the Musandam Development Committee in 1980s. Later on, the Committee demolished the castle in the 1980s, although the Oman authorities promised to rebuild the castle. The vast majority of people in Roas Al-Jabal, particularly people in Dibba protested against the Committee policy because it viewed the destruction as an act of cultural genocide. This Roas AlJabal-Omani incident highlights the need for a clearly articulated norm to govern the destruction of cultural heritage during peacetime. In fact, there are many historical and archaeological sites that the government of Oman is deliberately marginalising. For example, an archaeological site has recently discovered in the Dibba Club near the Tomb of the Amir of historic armies, which all the historical monuments were transferred to the Muscat Museum and not displayed in the Dibba Museum. Natural and historical places can play a large role to develop the economy of the citizen by the way to bring tourists, but the Omani policy of marginalisation caused the people’s economy in Dibba to be weakness along having a negative impact on the cultural identity and historical heritage for people in Roas Al-Jabal.

The Omani obligation

The Omani authorities must rebuild the Dibba fortress, which is a historical, cultural and was a bastion against the forces of colonialism. And at the same time, the authorities must stop the demolition against other historical heritage. People in Roas Al-Jabal believe that the Omani cease the development plans and asked the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to intervene. Continued vandalism against the historical relics is violation of UNESCO resolutions. Thus, the Omani authorities must stop its policy against people in Roas Al-Jabal. The Omani authorities should respect the GCC Charter of Human Rights to protect people life such as social welfare like property, transport, jobs, and historical and cultural monuments.

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