U.S. Department of State Partners with International Council of Museums to Fight Illicit Traffic of Yemeni Cultural Heritage

January 31, 2018

Yemen is an important partner to the United States, and key to stability in the wider region. In response to the civil war in Yemen in 2015-2016 and in an effort to help protect endangered Yemeni art and antiquities for future generations, the Department of State asked the International Council of Museums (ICOM) to produce an Emergency Red List of Cultural Objects at Risk for Yemen. It was launched at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York on January 31.

With support from ECA’s Cultural Heritage Center the Yemen Red List was developed in consultation with international experts from Yemen, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Germany. As a tool, Red Lists highlight the types of artifacts that are in demand on the art and antiquities market, protected by legislation, and vulnerable to being looted, stolen or illegally exported. The Yemen Red List will be distributed to police and customs officials worldwide as well as to INTERPOL and the World Customs Organization. It will also be distributed to museums, auction houses and art dealers.

The State Department’s support of the Red List reflects the United States’ commitment to cultural preservation and respect for world heritage.  In addition to the Yemen Red List, ECA’s Cultural Heritage Center, through its Cultural Antiquities Task Force,  has supported the publication of similar lists for West Africa, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Egypt, Cambodia, China, Central America and Mexico, Haiti, Colombia, and Peru, with more on the way.

For more information, please contact ECA-Press@state.gov. For information on ICOM, its action against illicit traffic in cultural goods and its Red Lists of cultural objects at risk, please contact icom.presse@icom.museum.