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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Destruction of Cultural Heritage in Conflict: Promoting Accountability and the Rule of Law

Thursday, September 22, 2016 - 10:00am
216 Hart Senate Office Building


The destruction of cultural heritage in conflict is an increasingly pressing concern for governments and civil society around the world. In Iraq and Syria, ISIS has targeted and destroyed, in visible and dramatic fashion, structures associated with minority sects of Islam, Christianity, and ancient and traditional cultures. In Mali, a rebel group affiliated with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb attacked and destroyed religious sites in the famed city of Timbuktu – and one of the perpetrators of these crimes has pled guilty to the war crime of cultural heritage destruction at the International Criminal Court.

Cultural heritage is a crucial part of the history of a people, and enriches all of humanity. When it is destroyed, it is lost forever. Intentional destruction of cultural heritage is an attempt to undermine the identity and dignity of humanity. How can the international community ensure accountability for these crimes and promote the rule of law to protect cultural heritage in conflict? How can international institutions and governments help preserve humanity’s cultural heritage?

Please join us for discussion to examine these questions, as well as the role that the U.S. government can play in these efforts.

Hosted by:

The Senate Human Rights Caucus
Co-Chairs Senator Mark Kirk and Senator Chris Coons

The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission
Co-Chairs Representative James P. McGovern and Joseph R. Pitts



  • Patty Gerstenblith, Director, Center for Art, Museum & Cultural Heritage Law, DePaul University
  • Helen Malko, Postdoctoral Fellow, Italian Academy for Advanced Studies, Columbia University
  • Tess Davis, Executive Director, Antiquities Coalition
  • Anne-Marie Carstens, Researcher, Georgetown University Law Center


  • Raymond Brown, Co-Founder, International Justice Project

Full announcement with Bios.

114th Congress