Protect What’s Yours. Stop Daesh

July 13, 2015


Assyrian statues at the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad. (© AP Images)
Daesh is looting and destroying your cultural heritage. 

Secretary of State John Kerry calls the terrorist group’s attacks on precious and irreplaceable artifacts tragic and outrageous. The U.S. and the international community are fighting back. A U.N. Security Council resolution targets the ability of terrorist groups like Daesh to raise and move funds. It also requires member states to help prevent the trade in looted and stolen Iraqi and Syrian cultural property. The Department of State is the chair of the Cultural Antiquities Task Force. 

One way to halt that trade is by helping officials recognize stolen goods. That’s where Red Lists come in. Red Lists illustrate the types of cultural items most likely to be illegally bought and sold. They help customs officials, police officers, museums and art dealers identify illegally trafficked artifacts. 

On June 1 the United States and the International Council of Museums introduced an updated Emergency Red List of Iraqi Cultural Objects at Risk

How can you help? The U.S. maintains a database of stolen art and has a team of law enforcement officers dedicated to finding those treasures. Police from other nations can search the database and you can too. You also can submit tips online

Cultural treasures like those stolen or destroyed by Daesh belong to all the people of Iraq and Syria and they are part of a common heritage that belongs to all of us. 

Protect what’s yours. Learn more about Red Lists. 


About the Cultural Antiquities Task Force 

Created by the State Department in 2004 at the direction of Congress, the Cultural Antiquities Task Force (CATF) comprises federal agencies that share a common mission to combat antiquities trafficking in the United States and abroad. Since its creation, the CATF has supported more than 95 domestic and international cultural property training programs. CATF is managed by the State Department’s Cultural Heritage Center