Against the backdrop of the destruction of Iraqi heritage over the past quarter of a century, this article critically reviews key aspects of the current state of Iraq’s cultural heritage, including damage to heritage buildings caused by Daesh in Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul.
We bring together Iraqi and non-Iraqi expertise in heritage, archaeology, and human rights law to frame our approach, building on the movement to link cultural diversity, heritage, and cultural rights. We emphasise the need for planning to enhance protection of Iraq’s heritage, in particular through the preparation of inventories, the provision of resources for heritage education in schools and the development of Iraq’s museum sector. Iraq’s presence on the UNESCO World Heritage Lists needs to be enhanced, and the issues of illicit site looting and traffic in looted antiquities must be addressed within international contexts.
Iraq’s future accession as State Party to the 1999 Second Protocol to the 1954 Hague Convention is a priority in achieving these goals. The paper stresses the need for co-creation of heritage knowledge and a gender-sensitive human rights approach for the future of Iraq’s globally significant cultural heritage.
RASHID International is a worldwide network of archaeologists and cultural heritage experts dedicated to safeguarding and promoting the cultural heritage of Iraq, ancient Mesopotamia. To assist our Iraqi colleagues, we collect and share information, research and expert knowledge, work to raise public awareness, and both develop and execute strategies to protect heritage sites and other cultural property through international cooperation, advocacy and technical assistance.
RASHID International is registered as a non-profit organisation in Germany and enjoys charitable tax-exempt status under German law. We are an organisation in special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council since 2019. Learn more about our work at www.rashid-international.org