Wednesday, November 21, 2007

An appeal to stop illicit trafficking of Iraqi cultural property

The International Coordination Committee for the Safeguarding of Iraqi Cultural Heritage, which met at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 13 and 14 November, ended with an appeal to the international community to help stop illicit excavations, pillaging and trafficking of Iraqi cultural property.

The Committee brings together some 20 international experts on Iraqi cultural heritage and is chaired by Iraq’s Senior Deputy Minister of Culture, Jaber Mohammad Abbas Al-Jaberi. It recommended, among other measures: to facilitate an international prohibition on trade in or transfer of ancient Iraqi cultural property in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1483 of 22 May 2003; and to encourage all countries to keep the recovered items in established safe havens, under the auspices of UNESCO and/or Iraqi diplomatic missions, in view of their restitution to Iraq when the adequate conditions are met.

April 10-12, 2007 was the fourth anniversary of the looting of the Iraq Museum in Baghdad. SAFE/Saving Antiquities for Everyone organized a candlelight vigil to end the looting and destruction of cultural heritage in Iraq, and around the world. The following (five minute long) video was produced as part of that effort, with a talk by the Director of the Iraq Museum in Baghdad, and images of the vigil at the State University of New York's Stony Brook campus:

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