Concern for Cultural Heritage in Iraq
December 18, 2002
by Mark Rose
With the threat of war with Iraq looming, Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) president Nancy Wilkie has expressed the institute's concern for the region's cultural heritage in the January/February 2003 issue of ARCHAEOLOGY. Wilkie reaffirmed an AIA resolution passed after the 1990 Gulf War urging that all governments honor the terms of the 1954 Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, usually known as the Hague Convention. Iraq ratified the Hague Convention; the United States has not.
The full text of the AIA's Resolution Regarding War and the Destruction of Antiquities appears below:
As the oldest and largest organization in North America devoted to the study and preservation of the world's cultural heritage, the Archaeological Institute of America expresses its profound concern about the potential for damage to monuments, sites, antiquities, and cultural institutions as a result of war.
While aware that there are frequently other compelling concerns in times of war, the Archaeological Institute nevertheless urges all governments, working in accordance with the terms of the Hague Convention (1954), in concert with the public and the scholarly community, to develop and implement programs to protect ancient sites, monuments, antiquities, and cultural institutions in the case of war.
In addition, in the aftermath of war, the Archaeological Institute of America calls on all governments in a position to act to provide the necessary resources, human and financial, to assess the damage done by war to cultural property and to develop and implement appropriate plans for necessary repairs and restoration. In the case of the looting of antiquities and works of art, detailed plans developed by trained experts should be made for the proper repatriation or restitution of such cultural artifacts.
(Approved by the AIA Governing Board 9/19/92; 92.II.7; published in the AIA Bulletin vol. 84 92-93, pp. 46-47.)
© 2002 by the Archaeological Institute of America