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Nurturing the democratic debate.  
Experts’ meeting at UNESCO issues recommendations to safeguard Iraqi Cultural Heritage
Editorial Contact: Lucia Iglesias-Kuntz, Bureau of Public Information, Editorial Section, tel: +33 (0) 1 45 68 17 02 - Email
Audiovisual Contact: Carole Darmouni, Bureau of Public Information, Audiovisual Section, tel: +33 (0) 1 45 68 17 38 or +33 (0) 1 45 68 54 81 - Email

17-04-2003 6:00 pm Some 30 experts* meeting at UNESCO today at the initiative of Director-General Ko´chiro Matsuura, issued recommendations for an international effort to safeguard Iraq’s cultural heritage and prevent further destruction following the recent looting of the country’s museums, archives and libraries.experts_350.jpg The experts issued the following statement:

“The meeting deplores and is deeply shocked by the extensive damage to, and looting of the cultural heritage of Iraq caused by the recent conflict. It calls on the coalition forces to observe the principles of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its two Protocols.
The meeting agreed on the following recommendations to those responsible for civil order in Iraq:

1) That all museums, libraries, archives, monuments and sites in Iraq be guarded and secured immediately by the forces in place

2) That an immediate prohibition be placed on the export of all antiques, antiquities, works of art, books and archives from Iraq

3) That an immediate ban be placed on the international trade in objects of Iraqi cultural heritage

4) That a call be made for the voluntary and immediate return of cultural objects stolen or illicitly exported from Iraq

5) That there be an immediate fact-finding mission under UNESCO coordination to assess the extent of damage and loss to cultural property in Iraq

6) That there be the facilitation of international efforts in assisting cultural institutions in Iraq.”

* Iraqi experts: Abdulsattar J. Mousa, Department of Culture and Information, Directorate of Heritage – Sharjia; Walid Yasin Ismail, Archaeological Advisor, Department of Antiquities and Tourism, Al Ain; Lamia Al-Gailani Werr, Seals expert, London; Zainab Bahrani Van-Mierop, Associate Professor, Dept. of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University, USA; Ghahim Wahida, Cambridge University, UK.

International experts: Helga Trenkwalder (Austria), Director, Austrian mission to Borsippa; Leon De Meyer (Belgium), Director, Belgian Archaeological expedition to Iraq, Honorary Rector, University of Gent; Ingolf Thuesen (Denmark), Director, Carsten Niebuhr Institute for Near Eastern Studies; Simo Parpola (Finland), Director, State archives of Assyria project, Institute for Asian and African Studies; Annie Caubet (France), Keeper of Ancient Near East Department, Louvre Museum; Barthel Hrouda (Germany), Director, German missions to Isin and Ashur; Giuseppe Proietti (Italy), Director General for Archaeology, Ministry of Culture; Roberto Parapetti (Italy), Director, Italian-Iraqi Centre for the Restoration of Monuments, Rome; Ken Matsumoto (Japan), Director, Kokushikan Archaeological expedition to Kish; Diederik J. W. Meijer (Netherlands) University of Leiden, Faculty of Archaeology; Piotr Bielinski (Poland), Director, Polish Archaeological missions to Tell Rijm, Eski Mossul dam project; Abdelaziz Daoulatli (Tunisia), ICCROM Representative; Veysel Donbaz (Turkey), Director of the Tablet Archive, Istanbul Archaeological Museum; Joan Oates (UK), British School of Archaeology in Iraq, British missions to Tell al-Rimah and Nimrud; Alastair Northedge (UK) Institute of Art and Archaeology, Paris; Neil MacGregor (UK), Director, British Museum; John Curtis (UK), Keeper of Ancient Near East Department, British Museum; McGuire Gibson (USA), Director, American Archaeological missions to Nippur and Tell Razuk, President, American Association for Research in Baghdad; Abdullah A. Kareem El Reyes, Arab Regional Branch President of the International Council on Archives (ICA); Jacques Perot, President of the International Council of Museums (ICOM); Michael Petzet, President of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS); Ross Shimmon, President of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) and the International Committee of the Blue Shield (ICBS).

A B-roll can be obtained by calling +33 (0) 1 45 68 00 68
Photographs are also available at +33 (0) 1 45 68 16 91 Preview

UNESCO Culture Iraq Website
UNESCO & Iraq Website

Source Press Release No.2003-26

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