15 April 2003
The International Council of Museums (ICOM) expresses grave concern over the destruction of the Iraqi heritage and the looting of the museums in Iraq.
It urgently implores the countries involved in this conflict to assume their responsibilities by ensuring the protection of all the monuments, archaeological sites, museums and other heritage institutions in Iraq, in the spirit and the respect of The Hague Convention (1954) for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.
ICOM warns art dealers, auction houses, collectors and museums against the acquisition of objects that might belong to the Iraqi heritage, and recommends not to purchase items coming from this region.
The greatest vigilance must be observed so as not to participate in the illicit traffic of Iraqi cultural property.
Theft and looting of the Iraqi cultural heritage are irreparable attacks on the heritage of humanity.
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