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Cultural Property Under Threat

May 13-14, 2015 – Cairo Egypt

ISIS’ deliberate and targeted destruction of cultural heritage in Iraq and Syria has shocked the world and demanded a response. In recent months, we have lost entire chapters of our shared history, and some of the most iconic masterpieces and sites the world has ever known. This wanton devastation threatens us all: at this moment, ISIS, the al-Nusrah Front, and other al-Qaeda affiliates are arming their campaign of terror through the black market sale of relics pillaged from the Cradle of Civilization.

While we cannot stop the sledgehammers, we can stop ISIS and other terrorists from profiting from this stolen treasure. The Antiquities Coalition has formed a powerful alliance with the Arab Republic of Egypt, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the Middle East Institute to shut down ISIS funding from cultural racketeering. We launched this initiative with an emergency conference in Cairo from 13-14 May 2015.

The 2015 Cairo Conference: Cultural Property Under Threat brought together Ministers of Antiquities, Culture, Tourism, and Foreign Affairs for ten key  governments in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO and Nail al-Araby, Secretary General of the Arab League. Leading international experts  – including archaeologists, business leaders, former military officials, lawyers, and experts in counter-terrorism, law enforcement, and security – also came from around the world to participate. This audience of decision-makers and specialists presented an unprecedented opportunity to develop regional solutions against cultural cleansing and cultural racketeering, in keeping with the Antiquities Coalition’s mission of safeguarding our shared cultural heritage.

At the end of the conference, the ten participating countries issued the historic Cairo Declaration, denouncing the “blood antiquities” trade and announcing a regional “action plan” to stop terrorist financing through cultural racketeering. Work is already underway to fulfill the declaration’s goals. Please visit our website for updates on recent activity.

Watch the #CultureUnderThreat Video Series

The Antiquities Coalition is launching its first video series titled “Culture Under Threat: Terrorism and Profiteering,” featuring panelists from the Cairo Conference, which brought together an unprecedented group to tackle cultural racketeering and terrorist financing. Some of the issues covered in this series includes the looting crisis, illicit antiquities trade, and its connection to terrorism.

See the Photos from the Event

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Our Media on the 2015 Cairo Conference

U.N., Arab officials seek to counter militant threat to monuments

U.N., Arab officials seek to counter militant  threat to monuments By AFP | Cairo Wednesday, 13 May 2015 ISIS militants destroy an ancient statue in Mosul Museum after the fall of Mosul in June [...]

By | May 13th, 2015|Tags: |

UN says destruction of Mideast historical sites ‘war crime’

UN says destruction of Mideast historical sites 'war crime' HAMZA HENDAWI  May 13, 2015 CAIRO (AP) — The chief of the U.N.'s education and culture agency launched a dramatic [...]

By | May 13th, 2015|

UN says destruction of Mideast historical sites ‘war crime’

UN says destruction of Mideast historical sites 'war crime' By ASSOCIATED PRESS PUBLISHED: 08:16 EST, 13 May 2015 CAIRO (AP) — The chief of the U.N.'s education and culture agency launched a dramatic appeal in [...]

By | May 13th, 2015|Tags: |

Iraq says ISIS demolishes ruins to cover up looting operations

Iraq says ISIS demolishes ruins to cover up looting operations Experts speculate that large pieces are destroyed for the benefit of the cameras, while more portable items are smuggled to dealers in Turkey By: Asharq [...]

By | May 12th, 2015|

Regional Conference Aims to Shut Down ISIS Funding from Antiquities Looting and Trafficking

EMERGENCY STRATEGY SESSION TO CONVENE IN CAIRO, MAY 13-14, 2015 View of Nile from Cairo Tower (Washington, D.C.) – In response to the unprecedented destruction of historical sites and antiquities by ISIS in [...]

By | March 26th, 2015|Tags: |

Egypt Takes the Lead to Combat Looting

The Antiquities Coalition commends the Egypt government’s leadership in the global fight against cultural racketeering – the systematic looting and trafficking of antiquities by criminal organizations or terrorist networks. Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, [...]

By | February 25th, 2015|