The Iraq Cultural Heritage Protection Act
Following the events that precipitated the loss of Iraq’s antiquities in 2003 which provided the impetus for the founding of SAFE, we put our efforts behind The Iraq Cultural Heritage Protection Act, H.R. 2009 and the revised H.R. 3497.
This legislation provides for the recovery, restitution, and protection of Iraqi cultural antiquities. It would prohibit the importation into the United States of any archaeological or cultural material removed from Iraq without appropriate documentation.
In Fall of 2003, we created a poster that can be downloaded and circulated to raise awareness and support for this bill. We urged visitors to our site to print out and distribute the poster wherever they can. On September 29, 2003, students from across the country joined SAFE in a Poster Hanging Day campaign. Professors, department heads, and students posted copies of SAFE’s H.R. 2009 poster in hallways, bookstores, cafeterias, bulletin boards, and wherever the public could see them. At the same time, postcards were also distributed to art galleries, bookstores and at college campuses across the United States.
We wish to thank the faculties and students of the University of Alabama – Birmingham, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, California State University at Sacramento, University of California – Los Angeles, University of California – San Diego, University of Chicago, Columbia University, Fashion Institute of Technology, Fordham University, Harvard University, University of Michigan, New York University, Northwestern University, Philadelphia University, Princeton University, Queens College, St. John’s University, St. Peter’s College, Seton Hall University, University of Southern California, Stanford University, the State University of New York at Buffalo, Stevens University and Yuzuncu Yil Universitesi for their participation in Poster Hanging Day.
In November, 2003, a slightly revised version of H.R. 2009 was introduced: H.R. 3497. In response to this, SAFE revised the poster and also created a brochure that rallied support for this revised legislation. It was designed so that anyone could easily mail in his or her support of H.R. 3497 by using the postcard attached. On February 20, 2004, 500 brochures were distributed at the College Art Association’s Special Advocacy Session: Cultural Heritage in Time of War in Seattle, Washington.
On March 4, 2004, the Senate passed legislation (S. 671) that gives the President the authority to impose restrictions to prevent the import into the United States of cultural materials that have been illegally removed from Iraq since August 1990. SAFE urges everyone to support the Iraq provisions of S. 671 by contacting their representatives.