Cultural Property Under Threat: The Cultural, Economic & Security Impact of Antiquities Theft in the Middle East
May 19, 2015
Cultural Property Under Threat: The Cultural, Economic Security Impact of Antiquities Theft in the Middle East
Cultural Heritage Partners – 19 May 2015
Marion Werkheiser was honored to attend a ministerial level conference in Cairo, Egypt, last week to discuss practical solutions to halting cultural racketeering– the systematic looting of antiquities by organized crime or terrorists– in the Middle East. The conference brought together representatives from 10 MENA countries, the Director General of UNESCO, the Head of the Arab League, UN agencies, and ambassadors, as well as experts in counterterrorism, terrorist financing, foreign affairs, heritage law and archaeology. The meeting was organized and co-hosted by the Antiquities Coalition and The Middle East Institute, and was convened by the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Antiquities.
Marion spoke during the Experts Roundtable on Wednesday about ways that countries in the region can work together to enhance their bargaining power to demand antiquities trade restrictions from market countries such as the United States. She also discussed strategies for building political support for the fight against cultural racketeering and shared her experience working with countries to request bilateral trade agreements pursuant to the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.
At the conclusion of the conference, the countries in attendance signed the Cairo Declaration, a joint agreement to stop terrorist funding and cultural destruction.
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