UNESCO headquarters in Paris
UNESCO headquarters in Paris iStock

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Wednesday criticized Belgian authorities for failing to react to anti-Semitic puppets paraded at the Aalst carnival earlier this week.

The carnival received funding from UNESCO, which failed to react immediately after the Sunday incident.

"We call on the Belgian authorities to react to the recent transgressions that occurred at the Aalst Carnival, an element inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity since 2010," the organization wrote in a statement.

UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Culture Ernesto Ottone R. said, "The satirical spirit of the Aalst Carnival and freedom of expression cannot serve as a screen for such manifestations of hatred."

"These indecent caricatures go against the values of respect and dignity embodied by UNESCO and are counter to the principles that underpin the intangible heritage of humanity."

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