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ICOM publishes a new Emergency Red List: the Emergency Red List of Egyptian Cultural Objects at Risk

ICOM publishes a new Emergency Red List: the Emergency Red List of Egyptian Cultural Objects at Risk

One year on from the events that took place in Egypt in 2011, ICOM’s actions to protect the country’s cultural heritage from the ensuing thefts of non-inventoried objects from archaeological sites and museums have led to the publication of the Emergency Red List of Egyptian Cultural Objects at Risk.

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Paris, 6 February 2012
The International Council of Museums (ICOM) announces the official launch, at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation in Cairo (NMEC), on 6 February 2012 at 10 a.m., of a new Emergency Red List: the Emergency Red List of Egyptian Cultural Objects at Risk. ICOM Director General, Julien Anfruns, officially presented the Emergency Red List, on this occasion, in the presence of the Director of the NMEC, Dr Mohammed Abdel Fatah. Following the presentation, Julien Anfruns had an official meeting with the Minister of State for Antiquities, Pr Mohammed Ibrahim Ali.

The ICOM Red Lists are important, effective tools designed to help police and customs officials, heritage professionals and art and antiquities dealers identify the types of objects that are most susceptible to illicit trafficking and therefore subject to smuggling and illicit trade. Following this important event, a seminar on illicit traffic and Red Lists will take place on 7 February 2012 at 9 a.m., also at the NMEC.

The Emergency Red List of Egyptian Cultural Objects at Risk was made possible thanks to the generous support of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

This ICOM initiative was conducted in cooperation with its International Committee for Egyptology (CIPEG), and with the participation of national and international experts in archaeology and history and the Ministry of Antiquities of the Arab Republic of Egypt. It aims to raise awareness among the local population, law enforcement officials and the international art and antiquities market.

The Emergency Red List of Egyptian Cultural Objects at Risk presents categories of objects spanning from the Predynastic, Pharaonic and Nubian era to Greco-Roman and Coptic Egypt, as well as from the Islamic Period.

The Emergency Red List aims to help art and heritage collectors, professionals and customs and police officials identify Egyptian objects that are protected by national legislation. Museums, auction houses, art dealers and collectors are encouraged not to acquire these objects without having carefully and thoroughly researched their origin and all the relevant national and international legal documentation.

« This Emergency Red List will concretely assist all those, inside and outside of Egypt, concerned by an involvement in the protection of Egyptian cultural heritage, by further preventing and reducing the illicit trade and export of the country’s cultural objects », Julien Anfruns said, when presenting the Egyptian Red List in Cairo.

Due to the great diversity of objects, styles and periods, the Emergency Red List of Egyptian Cultural Objects at Risk is far from exhaustive. Any cultural object that could have originated in Egypt should be subjected to detailed scrutiny and precautionary measures.

The fight against illicit traffic in cultural goods requires the enhancement of both legal and practical instruments that will disseminate information and raise public awareness. By launching this new Emergency Red List, ICOM is reiterating its firm commitment to the protection of cultural heritage, specifically in post-crisis situations.