Museum Experts Issue Emergency Red List for Iraqi Heritage Artifacts

Advise is not to buy artifacts from either Syria or Iraq
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The international experts at the International Council of Museums (ICOM) have put together an emergency red list of Iraqi cultural items at risk, which was presented at Louvre Museum in Paris on Monday.

The presentation of the list was in the presence of Irina Bokova, UNESCO director-general; Fleur Pellerin, French minister of culture and communication; Hans-Martin Hinz, ICOM president; Jean-Luc Martinez, president-director of the Louvre; and Richard Stengel, US Department of State under secretary for public diplomacy and public affairs.

“In recent months we have witnessed massacres of minorities in Syria and Iraq but also the destruction of priceless works of cultural heritage,” Martinez said at a press conference, AFP reports. “These are two parts of the same strategy that has been described as ‘cultural cleansing’ which seeks to erase entire segments of human history,” he added.

The emergency list seeks to highlight the types of works and objects that are desirable in the arts and antiques markets and vulnerable to theft and looting, and stop such objects from being illegally trafficked.

An emergency red list for Syrian artifacts was issued in 2013. “It is a solution with proven results,” Martinez said.

ICOM was created in 1946 and has over 35,000 members, including museum professionals in 137 countries. It cooperates with UNESCO, the World Customs Organization, and Interpol (see UNESCO Confirms ISIS Funding Terrorism by Selling Artifacts and UNESCO Pressures Italy to Ban Cruise Ships from Venice).

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