Response by Antiquities Coalition Chair Deborah Lehr On ISIS’s Destruction of the Ancient City of Nimrud
March 19, 2015
Every person on the planet should pause after yesterday’s violent attack on humanity’s heritage and understand ISIS’ intent not only to control the future of humankind but also to erase and rewrite our past.
|Members of ISIS destroy ancient Assyrian statues at the
Mosul Museum in Iraq. Photo Credit: ArtNet
We must unite with global intention to preserve our common heritage and resist ISIS’ effort to steal not only our future freedom but also our history, the very roots of our civilization. We need civilizing forces now more than ever and must take steps to protect our priceless historical sites and constrict the terrorists’ ability to profit from sale of plundered relics.
We believe the following steps are key:
– Encourage all nations to expeditiously implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 2199 passed on February 12, 2015 that prohibits trade in cultural property from Iraq and Syria. (The resolution, passed with full U.S. support, directs that action be taken within 120 days.) Given that the American market is one of the largest, the U.S. can help lead the way by quickly closing our borders to illicit trafficking in conflict antiquities.
– End impunity for these crimes against heritage which are documented risk factors of impending genocide, crimes against humanity and crimes of war. The International Criminal Court must immediately open an investigation into these severe violations of international law. UNESCO and other organizations have also called upon the ICC to take action.