Cultural Policy Correspondences 2017-10-26T04:18:55+00:00

We petition our policymakers—from government officials to intergovernmental institutions—to fight cultural racketeering around the world.

Urging Secretary of the U.S. Treasury for Action

Seal_on_United_States_Department_of_the_Treasury_on_the_BuildingOn December 22, 2015 the Antiquities Coalition wrote Treasury Secretary Lew to commend him for his leadership and encourage Treasury to uses its authorities under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code to take immediate action through executive order to halt the import of blood antiquities.

Secretary Jack Lew took the unprecedented step in December 2015 to call together Ministers of Finance from the Security Council members of the United Nations to reach consensus around stopping access to member states’ markets as a source of funding for Daesh. As a step to ensure that the United States is in full compliance with the Resolution 2199 on its year anniversary, Treasury should move without delay close the U.S. market to all sources of funding, particularly those of blood antiquities, for Daesh and related extremist organizations. Given this precedent, and using these existing laws for disrupting the financial support networks of terrorists organizations, the Antiquities Coalition urged the United States to extend the petroleum restrictions to Syrian antiquities (building on those we already have in place for Iraq).

Joining in Support of the Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act (H.R. 1493/ S. 1887)

DC - Capitol Building - Katie (2) (1)On April 22, 2015 the Antiquities Coalition joined the Society for American Archaeology (SAA), the American Anthropological Association (AAA), the American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works (AIC), the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR), the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA), the International Council of Museums (ICOM), the Lawyers’ Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation (LCCHP), Preservation Action, the Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA), the United States Committee of the Blue Shield (USCBS), and the U.S. National Committee of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) in issuing a letter of support for the urgent passage of the bill.

The letter of support focused on the decades of United States policies in protecting cultural heritage during armed conflict, noting that:

“Since the Second World War, it has been the policy of the government and armed forces of the United States to take all reasonable measures to safeguard the physical cultural resources of nations experiencing political turmoil, armed conflict, and natural and man-made disasters. In the decades since 1945 a network of international agreements, federal statutes, and Department of Defense directives has developed to implement this policy. Nevertheless, there are certain improvements that could be made to tighten the net and better preserve humanity’s shared cultural heritage. H.R. 1493 would make some of those important changes.”

The Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act—was signed into law by President Obama on May 9, 2016—restricts the import of Syrian antiquities illegally removed from the country since March 15, 2011, building on restrictions in place for Iraqi antiquities since 2004.

Appeal to the International Criminal Court (ICC)

ICC logoThe Antiquities Coalition has long joined calls to prosecute deliberate attacks on cultural heritage as war crimes under international law.  On Friday, March 6, 2015, the Antiquities Coalition wrote Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), urging her to open an investigation into Daesh’s war crimes against cultural heritage in northern Iraq.

The targeting and deliberate destruction of cultural heritage is a grave violation of international law, including the Rome Statute, which established the ICC.  More importantly, judging from history, it also poses a stark warning that violent extremist organizations like Daesh will soon undertake even greater violence against the besieged Iraqi population: The United Nations (UN) clearly recognizes that such “cultural cleansing” is a specific risk factor of impending genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

The Antiquities Coalition strongly commends and supports the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) decision to prosecute Ahmad Al-Mahdi Al Faqi, a member of the al Qaeda-affiliated Ansar Dine in Mali, for war crimes — in the first case brought before the ICC on the destruction of cultural property.  This landmark decision sends a strong message that the intentional destruction of our shared heritage will not be tolerated and that those who engage in these crimes will be held accountable for their actions.

Our Media on Treasury

UN Security Council Unanimously Adopts Resolution in Fight Against Terrorism Financing, Including Illicit Sale of Antiquities

In an unprecedented move indicative of the serious nature that ISIS now poses to global security, the United States and Russia jointly called a meeting at the United Nations of the world’s top finance ministers. [...]

By | December 18th, 2015|

Our Media on the ICC

In Support of the ICC’s War Crimes Case on Heritage Destruction

The Antiquities Coalition strongly commends and supports the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) decision to prosecute Ahmad Al-Mahdi Al Faqi for war crimes — in the first case brought before the ICC on the destruction of cultural property.  This landmark decision sends a strong [...]

By | September 30th, 2015|

Antiquities Coalition Calls on U.S. and All Nations to Use All Policy and Legal Tools to Halt the Destruction, Trafficking, and Sale of Illicit Antiquities

Courtesy of Diane Flynn and the Oriental Institute As ISIL extremists intensify their shameful march of destruction – destroying or looting and trafficking our shared heritage – The Antiquities Coalition is calling for immediate [...]

By | March 11th, 2015|