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September 21, 2021

FocusWikimedia x ICOM | Help protect Afghanistan’s cultural heritage from your laptop!

Wikimedia and ICOM have joined forces to mobilise the Wiki community and Internet users to protect Afghan cultural heritage at risk of looting and illicit traffic.

Following the humanitarian and political crisis of August 2021, the international community has watched with growing concern the events unfolding across Afghanistan. Vandals and thieves will profit of the instability to steal or destroy cultural heritage for a variety of reasons, including personal gain or political motivation. To protect it, we need to work together – and everybody can help, even from their laptop.

Nowadays, many of the illicit transactions involving cultural heritage happen online on social media or e-commerce platforms. To respond to the emergency in Afghanistan and the migration of these kinds of crimes to online platforms, ICOM and Wikimedia CH have worked together to give the ICOM Red List of Afghanistan Antiquities at Risk maximum visibility and diversify its use online.

“We highly valued ICOM’s invitation to partner in this project and immediately accepted the task to set up the initial project page, and to motivate wikipedians and other people who feel concerned about Afghanistan’s cultural heritage to engage for this cause”, says Jenny Ebermann, Executive Director of Wikimedia CH.

How to participate

If you have knowledge and access to media files and collections depicting objects from categories included in the Red List of ICOM regarding the Afghan Antiquities at risk, that are in public domain or available under a CC-BY-SA license, you can upload them to Wikimedia Commons and make them visible in a dedicated image gallery available here.

As a beginner or intermediate Wikipedia author, you also can contribute by improving and completing an existing article about Afghanistan cultural objects at risk and insert images, links, sources or Wikidata info boxes. If you are an Wikipedia expert you might engage in creating a completely new article or translate an existing article in a different language. Wikimedia CH has set up an outreach dashboard for this project, where you can share with us your work. If you want to enroll and assign the articles or categories you are working on, click on the action button below.

Outreach Dashboard

With your help, we will significantly increase the chances of citizens and organisations discovering the ICOM Red List when searching for information on a suspicious object they have found for sale, or when researching on the illicit trade more broadly!

Link to the project page