Nineteen years after the pogrom against the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija, cultural heritage in that territory continues to be jeopardized on a daily basis, the Serbian Ministry of Culture stated on March 17.
In the statement released in remembrance of March 17, 2004 and the mass violence against Serbs in the province, the Ministry says that Serbian cultural heritage is endangered every day by desecration, destruction and forgery, and that there is continuous abuse of Serbian cultural and church heritage.
The Ministry recalls that the March 2004 violence resulted in the expulsion of more than 4,000 Serbs and the destruction or damage of 35 Serbian churches and monasteries, half of which are protected cultural monuments.
More than 10,000 frescoes, icons, chalices, vestments, and church registers of marriages and baptisms vanished or were destroyed.
The Ministry appealed to all international organizations that advocate the protection of cultural heritage to contribute "with great care and in line with historical facts, international law and professional criteria" to the preservation of cultural heritage.