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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke April 28, 2021

No, UNESCO didn’t remove the birthplace of Jesus from its World Heritage sites

If Your Time is short

  • The image of this headline has been doctored. 
     
  • The birthplace of Jesus is still a World Heritage site.
 

An image of a headline that’s being shared on social media is drawing the ire of people upset by what appears to be a recent decision by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, better known as UNESCO.

"UN cultural agency removes birthplace of Jesus from its list of heritage sites," the headline says. 

But that headline has been doctored. And whoever edited it didn’t match the white color they used to to cover up two important words with the white color of the website where the headline first appeared — you can see where the words were smudged out.

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

The actual headline of a July 2019 press release from the United Nations says: "UN cultural agency removes birthplace of Jesus from its list of heritage sites in danger" (emphasis ours). 

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The site was added in 2012 to the World Heritage List, a designation "for places on Earth that are of outstanding universal value to humanity," according to UNESCO. But because the nativity church at the site was in disrepair, UNESCO also added it to the "List of World Heritage In Danger" list that year. 

When it was removed from the danger list in 2019, the World Heritage Committee based its decision "on the high quality of work carried out on the church in recent years, including restoration of its roof, exterior facades, mosaics and doors."

You can search the World Heritage List and see that "Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the nativity and the pilgrimage route, Bethlehem," is still among the more than 1,000 sites.

The list also shows what sites have been delisted. There are two: Dresden Elbe Valley in Germany and Arabian Oryx Sanctuary in Oman.

We rate this Facebook post False.

 

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No, UNESCO didn’t remove the birthplace of Jesus from its World Heritage sites

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