Workshop to strengthen legal and operational capacities in Iraq

Beirut, Lebanon, 2-6 November 2008

This workshop was made possible thanks to the financial support of the Czech Republic and was jointly organized by the Section of Museums and Cultural Objects and the UNESCO office for Iraq. This workshop was a continuation of the 2007 legal and practical training on the fight against illicit traffic of cultural property that took in Amman, which was intended for lawyers, civil servants and museum personnel of the Mesopotamian region.

  • The 2008 Beirut workshop was specially prepared for an Iraqi expert group with legal and operational experience and communication skills with the final objective of them being able to train other colleagues. With this in mind, the training was designed in three modules and delivered in a period of two weeks:
  • Legal training (first week, three modules),
  • Inventory and cataloguing training (first week),
  • Operational training (second week).

The objectives of the workshop were designed to cover two major components:

  • Practical application of international legal instruments for successful return and/or restitution of Iraqi cultural property illegally removed from the country, as well as displaced within the country.
  • Building a multidisciplinary team of Iraqi professionals and experts who would coordinate the process in their respective institutions, such as the State Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Interior, Custom Office, the Iraqi Parliament and also legal experts of the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Culture of the Kurdistan Regional Government.

In order to build a multidisciplinary team and to discuss in detail real cases of the return and restitution of artifacts, the training was restricted to 10 trainees, each of whom was to join the UNESCO network and be updated regularly on the development of international legal instruments. The training was conducted by experts from major International organizations: UNIDROIT, INTERPOL, WCO (World Customs Organization) and UNESCO (Section of Museums and Cultural Objects). All working documents, as well as the final report of the training, was translated in Arabic and distributed to the trainees/participants.

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