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SiLK - Guidelines for the protection of cultural property

14. Violence


What do flashmobs, hooligans and terrorists have in common? They confront cultural institutions with challenges for which they are rarely prepared.
Even the end of the Cold War did not herald a time of peace and tranquility. Instead of the arms race between hegemonial superpowers, the world now faces a myriad of asymmetrical conflicts, and international terrorism is increasingly seeking "soft" and symbolic targets. Civil disorder in the form of protests or riots endanger cultural property in countries in which this was not expected (e.g. Egypt). The threat from the indirect consequences of such events is also becoming increasingly serious, i.e. prolonged periods where critical building infrastructures and communications systems are out of action.

Three fundamental threats endanger the existence of an institution, as well as the consequential problems:

  • Civil disorder: demonstrations, riots, anarchy or the side effects of large events that get out of hand
  • Terror: bomb threats and targeted attacks
  • Armed conflict: war and civil war

Even in such extreme situations, risk assessment and emergency planning help to avert threats and minimize damage – especially if integrated in a comprehensive emergency preparedness concept.


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