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Qatar National Library Combats Antiquities Trafficking In the Region

February 16, 2021 2:36 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

Reposted from The Peninsula

Qatar National Library has taken action to combat antiquities trafficking and illicit circulation of documentary heritage in the Middle East, North Africa and neighboring countries, according to Minister of State and President of Qatar National Library, H E Dr. Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al Kawari.

Speaking at a special webinar antiquities trafficking yesterday, H E Dr.Al Kawari said that the Library continuously monitor to find antiquities trafficking and take action against the activity together with regional and global partners. 

What is Antiquities Trafficking?’ webinar discussed the structures of supply chains for the illicit trade of cultural items, identified key stakeholders involved in the criminal practice, and explored the source, transit routes and market countries of the illegal activity.

“Trafficking and smuggling of antiquities and artifacts in the region is threatening its cultural heritage,” said Dr. Al Kawari.

He also shed light to online antiquities trafficking and said that social media is being the ‘wrong hot bed’ for such activities. 

“In recent times we have seen an increase in the online illicit trade of antiquities. Lately the social media, especially Facebook groups have become the wrong hot bed for antiquities trafficking,” said Dr. Al Kawari.

“Illegally trading such heritage items is piracy of nations. We at Qatar National Library believe in role of intellectuals in the world. We urge them to take more responsibility to address this serious issue of antiquities trafficking. We urge the international community to deal and eliminate such activities,” he added. 

The webinar is part of the Himaya Project Lecture Series, an initiative the Library launched to counter the trafficking and illegal circulation of documentary heritage in the MENA region and neighboring countries. Himaya engages international agencies and regional organizations to protect heritage artifacts and thwart the trafficking of such items.

The webinar featured Director of Distinctive Collections, Qatar National Library, Stephane Ipert, Veronica Costarelli, Project Manager, Cross-Border Syrian Emergency Response with IOM and a post-crisis antiquity trafficking researcher, Post-doctoral research fellow in cultural heritage and conflicts, Norwegian Institute in Rome, University of Oslo, and Dr. Samuel Andrew Hardy. The event was moderated by Maxim Nasra, Book Conservation Specialist at the Library. 
The two-day webinar is held mainly for cultural heritage experts, scholars, academics and law enforcement officials. It will conclude today. 

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