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ICOM releases Red List of Iraqi artefacts at risk of being looted and smuggled



The International Council of Museums (ICOM) yesterday released at Paris’s Louvre Museum an “Emergency Red List of Iraqi cultural objects at risk” in support of international efforts such as UN Security Council Resolution 2199 to curb the illicit trafficking of cultural heritage as one of the major sources of terrorist financing.

The Red List is a tool that people and authorities can use to recognize the type of artefacts that have been looted from archaeological sites, stolen from museums and illicitly trafficked. 

‘The Red List will assist art markets and buyers to take precautionary measures when purchasing objects originating from Iraq. This is yet another step towards safeguarding and protecting Iraq’s cultural heritage” said UNESCO Representative for Iraq Axel Plathe.

The Red List highlights the types of objects which are in demand by the art market and are vulnerable to threat or looting. Individuals and institutions liable to acquire objects originating from Iraq are requested to demonstrate extreme prudence in regards to the provenance and legal documentation of the objects.

The Emergency Red List for Syria, published in September 2013, and the one now being published for Iraq are concrete tools intended to prevent looted objects from being subject to illicit trafficking.

Established in 1946, ICOM is a non-governmental organization maintaining formal relations with the UNESCO and having a consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

The Emergency Red List of Iraqi cultural objects at Risk can be viewed here.