Launch of Emergency Red List of Syrian Cultural Objects at Risk

Press Statement
Jen Psaki
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
September 23, 2013

On September 25, Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration Anne Richard will join the President of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), Dr. Hans-Martin Hinz, at the launch of the Emergency Red List of Syrian Cultural Objects at Risk. The event, held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, will also feature remarks from Thomas Campbell, Director of the Museum; Irina Bokova, the Director General of the United Nations Scientific, Educational, and Cultural Organization; and Bonnie Burnham, President of the World Monuments Fund.

The Red List was developed by ICOM, in collaboration with the Department of State, to respond to the widespread looting of museums and archaeological sites in Syria and to help authorities identify Syrian objects that may be protected by national or international law.

The United States strongly supports efforts to preserve Syria’s cultural heritage and continues to call on all parties in Syria to respect and protect Syrian cultural sites including museums, archives, and places of archaeological, historic, and religious significance. The destruction and looting of sites and monuments that have been preserved for millennia places Syria at risk of losing a cultural legacy of universal importance.

To meet the urgent needs of the suffering Syrian people, the United States leads the international community’s response, having provided over $1 billion to humanitarian relief efforts. However, in the long-term, our efforts to preserve cultural heritage will also play an important role in protecting Syria’s rich cultural identity and maintaining Syria’s economic vitality.

PRN: 2013/1162