Fact check: UNESCO did not remove Jesus’ birthplace from its World Heritage List

The claim: UNESCO removed the birthplace of Jesus from its World Heritage List

A viral post circulating online claims UNESCO, the United Nations’ cultural agency, removed the birthplace of Jesus from its World Heritage sites. 

The World Heritage List is one of UNESCO’s core missions, as it protects historic and cultural sites and runs a number of educational programs. It preserves 1,073 sites in 167 countries. 

“UN cultural agency removes birthplace of Jesus from its list of heritage sites,” reads an April 28 Facebook post by the page Burds ARE Real. The image has over 100 shares and 600 reactions. 

Accompanying the headline is an image from UNESCO of the birthplace of Jesus at the Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, in Bethlehem in the West Bank. 

The image, however, has been altered.

Fact check:Claim that a viral image shows a 392-year-old shark is unverified

USA TODAY reached out to the Facebook user for comment. 

Headline is doctored 

There are no reports of UNESCO removing the birthplace of Jesus from its World Heritage List and the image is altered from a July 2019 press release from the organization. 

Roni Amelan, a UNESCO spokesperson, confirmed to USA TODAY via email that the “Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem remains on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.” 

The text and image seen in the claim matches a press release from the organization from July 2, 2019. The authentic headline reads, “UN cultural agency removes birthplace of Jesus from its list of heritage sites in danger.” 

The user whited out the words “in danger” from the headline.

Palestinian security stand guard as Christians celebrate Easter at the Church of the Nativity on April 4, 2021 in Bethlehem, West Bank. (Photo: Samar Hazboun, Getty Images)

Get these in your inbox: We’re fact-checking the news and sending it to your inbox. Sign up here to start receiving our newsletter.

The danger list aims to alert the international community about threats to “essential characteristics” of a property on the World Heritage List. Those threats can include armed conflicts, natural disasters, unplanned urbanization, poaching or pollution.

The site was added to the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2012 due to the poor state of the church and removed from the danger list in 2019 following “extensive restorative work.”

Fact check:No, Albert Einstein did not say famous quote about fish climbing trees

A search on UNESCO’s site further confirms the birthplace of Jesus is still designated as a World Heritage site.

Our rating: False

The claim that UNESCO removed the birthplace of Jesus from its World Heritage List is FALSE, based on our research. A UNESCO spokesperson confirmed the claim is not true and the headline in the image is doctored from a 2019 press release on the birthplace of Jesus being removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger. 

Our fact-check sources: 

  • PolitiFact, April 28, No, UNESCO didn’t remove the birthplace of Jesus from its World Heritage sites
  • Roni Amelan, April 29, emailed statement
  • UN News, July 2, 2019, UN cultural agency removes birthplace of Jesus from its list of heritage sites in danger
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, accessed April 29, Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem

Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here.

Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

Source: Read Full Article