UN, 30 November. /TASS/. Russia called on Wednesday the UN Security Council to bring sanctions individuals and entities that trade with terrorists items of cultural value taken from Iraq and Syria. Speaking at a security Council meeting devoted to the problem of smuggling of cultural values, Russia’s permanent representative to the UN, Vasily Nebenzia reminded that it is provided by resolution 2347, adopted in March this year.
According to him, the terrorists organization “Islamic state” (IG banned in Russia) and related criminals “using every available loophole to forward cultural values abroad”. “For example, Russian border control authorities have managed to confiscate encaustic tiles of the Ottoman period and the other Syrian artifacts stolen from the territory controlled by ISIS. Otherwise, the wealth of culture this country illegally would fall into the hands of private collectors,” – said the Ambassador.
He said that trade artifacts basically goes “through anonymous sellers”. In addition, recorded cases of illegal acquisition via the Internet. As said Nebenzia, control over such transactions is difficult primarily because of “the problem of identifying smuggled values.”
“I would like to call upon all States to promptly provide the Committee SB on sanctions against ISIS and “al-Qaeda” (banned in Russia – approx. TASS) available data on the sources of recharge of these organizations. As a reminder, summarizing the sanctions of individuals and entities involved in trade in cultural property from terrorists,” the diplomat said.
Speaking with a report at the meeting, the head of counter-terrorism of the UN office Vladimir Voronkov pointed out that “terrorists, particularly in situations of armed conflict destroys not only lives and property, but also monuments and objects of historical value”. “Their goal is clear – to undermine national identity and international law, after all, heritage is a source of identity and unity not only for individual communities but for the entire world community. When terrorist groups choose the world heritage sites, this is an attack on our common historical roots and cultural diversity,” said the Russian diplomat. He urged countries to investigate cases of smuggling of artifacts, to cooperate and exchange information, and actively attract collectors, auction houses and companies of the tourism sector to the efforts to combat the illicit trade in objects of cultural heritage.
On 24 March, the UN Security Council adopted its first resolution aimed at protecting cultural heritage. The document, approved in terms of destruction of historical monuments in Iraq, Syria and other countries affected by conflicts, contains a number of recommendations to prevent such crimes. In particular, countries are encouraged to create a “safe zone” to protect cultural heritage sites and strictly regulate the export and import of artifacts by introducing mandatory certification in accordance with international standards.