Thai youth push to save Afghan Buddhist site

Countless Buddhist ruins in an ancient site in Afghanistan are at risk of being destroyed unless something is done to stop planned mining, activists say.

The ‘Civilisation: Roots of Human Kinds’ seminar will take place at Silpakorn University’s Wang Thapra campus.

Located 40km southeast of Kabul, Mes Aynak is an archaeological site with several Buddhist monasteries beneath its 400,000m2. There also remains a fortress, urban dwellings and earlier remnants of human habitation going back 5,000 years or more.

Mes Aynak also holds significant copper deposits. Recently, a contract to mine copper was obtained by the Chinese company MCC which is planning surface mining. The company has given archaeologists until the end of the year to explore the site and remove artefacts.

In an attempt to make their voices heard by Unesco, a group of Thai youngsters called Save Mes Aynak Thailand are encouraging people to help protect what isn't only an ancient Buddhist place but also a piece of the world's heritage. Since its establishment last month, the group has staged several activities, including a march to the Unesco office in Bangkok and providing knowledge about the ancient site and recent updates of the situation to Thai youths via and at colleges and universities.

Their next event will be a seminar entitled "What has Thailand learned from the case of Mes Aynak?" at the Faculty of Decorative Arts's Suan Kaew park, Silpakorn University, Wang Thapra campus, on Thursday, from 10.30am to 1pm.

The seminar will be conducted by Komkrit Uitekkeng, an instructor from the university's Faculty of Arts, and is open to all.

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