AC Founder and Chairman Highlights Yemen’s Fight Against Cultural Racketeering in Joint Op-Ed
September 20, 2023
Deborah Lehr Joins Ambassador of Yemen to the U.S. Mohammed Al-Hadhrami to Showcase Yemen’s Example of Using Close Engagement with the U.S. Government to Safeguard Cultural Heritage
In the midst of a humanitarian crisis following the Houthis’ coup in 2014, Yemen achieved a bilateral cultural property agreement with the United States, committing both countries to combating the illicit trade of antiquities. Signed on August 30, this agreement builds on the emergency import restrictions put in place in 2020.
In a new op-ed for The Hill, our Chairman and Founder Deborah Lehr and Ambassador of Yemen to the United States Mohammed Al-Hadhrami write that Yemen’s example of using close engagement with the U.S. government to fight antiquities trafficking can serve as an example to other countries around the world:
Recent conflicts in Afghanistan, Ukraine, Sudan and Niger show that we cannot always predict when and where culture will be under threat. A proactive system that allows quick responses to crises or emergency situations is a more effective approach for responding to growing threats of cultural racketeering. Yemen’s case of using close engagement with the U.S. government to fight antiquities trafficking can serve as an example to other countries around the world. It helped achieve the successful repatriation of 79 of its antiquities and the expansion of cooperation with cultural institutions for the preservation and presentation of its cultural heritage.
The Antiquities Coalition is a proud supporter of this agreement, which closes U.S. borders to looted art and antiquities from Yemen while making certain the U.S. art market does not contribute to Yemen’s tragedy.
Read the full op-ed here.