“Contested Religious Heritage and the Impact of UNESCO’s Decisions: Critical Issues and Challenges to the (Neutral) Application of UNESCO’s Rules”

The approach adopted by UNESCO in the evaluation of the Outstanding Universal Value of cultural heritage sites has changed throughout the years. In this perspective, we should wonder which are the tools of Global Administrative Law and how they are used by UNESCO while selecting cultural heritage sites. Is the use of these instruments and decisions forged and manipulated according to ordinary situations and situations of contestation for the exercise of sovereign powers? Is the element of contestation of a religious site playing a determinant role in the decision-making process undertaken by National Governments and then completed by UNESCO? In particular, the analysis will consider three main cases of contestation of religious heritage sites: the Case of Palestine, the Case of Kosovo and the Case of Cambodia are good tools to assess the use of these powers and instruments.