• 2008 Global Candlelight Vigil

    The 2008 SAFE Global Candlelight Vigil was officially launched last week.

    Last year 20 different groups from around the world took part in the vigil, commemorating the tragedy in a variety of ways and places. You can read about it here or look at photos from some of the vigils here.

    This year marks the fifth anniversary of the looting of the Iraq Museum and there will be even more opportunities to take part: host a vigil, attend a vigil or light a virtual candle to show your support. Visit the SAFE website for details.

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  • What happened to the China MOU request?

    Three years ago, on February 17, 2005, the U.S. Cultural Property Advisory Committee held public hearings to consider China’s request for a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that would restrict importation of certain types of cultural property from China to the United States for a limited period of time (five years, subject to renewal).

    China made the request of the U.S., as both countries are parties to the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (UNESCO 1970). Among other things, this convention obliges State Parties to prohibit the importation of cultural property stolen from a museum or monument in another participating country (Article 7b), and allows State Parties whose archaeological or ethnological patrimony is in jeopardy from pillage to ask other State Parties for help in protecting the affected categories of materials, through measures that may include restrictions on imports and exports (Article 9). Furthermore, the U.S. ...

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  • Where we forgot our history

    The following article is published at the request of its author, Mehiyar Kathem, who has recently completed a MSc in Development Management at the London School of Economics (LSE) and is currently fundraising for the Cultural Heritage Awareness Initiative (CHAI) – a project of the Baghdad based education focused NGO, the Culture For All (CFA) – www.cultureforall.org

    One of the greatest tragedies of history has been the systematic looting of most of the 10,000 registered archaeological sites and monuments in Iraq. Our knowledge of Iraq is largely punctuated by events of the past twenty five years – that of the first Gulf War, the sanctions, and now nearly five years into the West’s disastrous escapade, the US led invasion of 2003. But what we do not get to see on the news is a tragedy much larger than the war. Armed and organised gangs, many of them contracted by wealthy Western clients, are systematically looting Iraq’s cultural and archaeological heritage. In ...

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