10th Anniversary Report for UNHRC Cultural Rights Mandate

The mandate of the United Nations Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights marks its 10th anniversary in 2019. To celebrate this milestone, the Special Rapporteur, Ms. Karima Bennoune, invited all stakeholders to contribute to a consultation aimed at taking stock of the impact of the cultural rights mandate since its creation and at identifying issues relating to cultural rights.

RASHID International, led by Chief Legal Officer Seán Fobbe, contributed a special report outlining the work we do in enhancing cultural rights in Iraq. The report highlights specific efforts to provide technical assistance with cultural heritage matters, such as Dr. Simone Mühl and Dr. Rozhen Mohammed-Amin’s on-going restoration work at Slemani Museum – the second-largest museum dedicated to archaeology in Iraq. Professor Roger Matthews’s new project MENTICA (Middle East Neolithic Transition: Integrated Community Approaches) was discussed due to its potential to enhance the teaching of history and memorialisation processes in a framework of cultural diversity and sustainable development.

The report also lists important research into the current legal framework in Iraq regarding the looting of antiquities, its implications for human rights, and how RASHID is engaging in constructive dialogue with Iraqi representatives through providing advice, knowledge and evidence relevant to Iraq’s upcoming Universal Periodic Review of its human rights.

Finally, RASHID recommended that the Special Rapporteur visit Iraq in order to raise awareness of the importance of cultural rights and strengthen the morale of cultural rights defenders in Iraq. RASHID extended an invitation to provide logistical assistance, host a platform for meeting cultural rights defenders and enrich the Special Rapporteur’s visit with our expert knowledge of the country, its heritage and its people.

Read the 10th Anniversary Report for the UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights

RASHID Issues Statement Urging Iraq to Ratify Second Protocol to 1954 Hague Convention

Statement

“RASHID International urges the Republic of Iraq to accede to the 1999 Second Protocol to the Hague Convention of 1954 for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (‘1999 Second Protocol’) at the earliest possible opportunity.

We commend the Republic of Iraq for having ratified the 1954 Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (‘1954 Hague Convention’) and its First Protocol on 21st December 1967 and express our hope that the Council of Representatives, the Council of Ministers and the President of the Republic will take steps towards Iraq becoming a State Party to the 1999 Second Protocol in order to underline its commitment to protecting cultural heritage at home and abroad.”

Download the full statement here

Announcing Professor Jim Al-Khalili as the new Patron of RASHID International

RASHID International is delighted to announce that the internationally respected and award-winning author and broadcaster Professor Jim Al-Khalili has kindly agreed to become our patron. An Iraqi-born British academic with a distinguished record, Professor Al-Khalili is based at the University of Surrey, where he teaches and conducts research in quantum physics.

On his appointment, Professor Al-Khalili said: “I am very pleased to say that I have been invited, and have accepted, to become Patron of a relatively new but dynamic organisation, RASHID International. The heritage of Iraq has suffered grievously in recent decades from a range of hostile actions, and those of us who take pride in the globally significant developments which took place in ancient Mesopotamia, modern Iraq, feel duty bound to offer our help and support where we can. I look forward to working with my new colleagues at RASHID International in helping to address the challenges that Iraq faces in the months and years ahead. I wish them strength and all success.”

In response, President of RASHID International Professor Roger Matthews, released the following statement: “We look forward very much to working with Jim to enhance the public profile of Iraq’s globally important heritage, and to furthering the aims and projects of RASHID International in researching, assessing and safeguarding the heritage of Iraq in danger. Jim’s personal and professional history makes him an ideal champion in our work regarding Iraqi cultural heritage.”

Professor Al-Khalili is a recipient of the Royal Society Michael Faraday medal, the Institute of Physics Kelvin Medal and the inaugural Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication. His book Pathfinders: The Golden Age of Arabic Science was shortlisted for the Warwick Prize in 2013.

You can find out more about our new patron on his website (www.jimal-khalili.com) or follow his work on Twitter (@jimalkhalili).

UN Special Rapporteur publishes report on the impact of fundamentalism on women’s cultural rights

Out now: the UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights published her new report on the impact of fundamentalism on women’s cultural rights (with input from RASHID International). The report will be presented to the UN General Assembly in the coming weeks.

RASHID International, led by Dr. Rozhen Mohammed-Amin, contributed information and research on several issues that are detrimental to the full enjoyment of cultural rights by women in Iraq, such as cultural infraction-based violence, self-immolation, female genital mutilation (FGM) and attempts to curtail freedom of movement and dress. In spite of these challenges, there have been a number of positive developments we were glad to highlight, such as civil society rising up to challenge fundamentalism and a number of legislative steps that were taken. Valuable contributions were received from Shokhan Hama Rashid Ahmed, Dr. Simone Mühl, Seán Fobbe, Professor Roger Matthews and Dr. Kozad M. Ahmed.

Read the UN Special Rapporteur’s report

Watch the UN Special Rapporteur present the report to the General Assembly

Read RASHID International’s submission

RASHID at the UN Human Rights Council: Inter-sessional seminar on destruction of cultural heritage

Experts from RASHID International attended the UN Human Rights Council’s first-ever seminar on the intentional destruction of cultural heritage, held on 7th July 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland. The Human Rights Council, the United Nations’ premier human rights body, issued a call to attend the seminar in its landmark cultural heritage resolution 33/20 as a response to the escalating destruction of cultural heritage around the world.

In his intervention at the seminar Professor Matthews stressed the importance of reaching out to conflict-affected states, such as Iraq, and communicating the protected status and location of sites to their armed forces in order to prevent sites becoming collateral damage, a strategy that yielded good results in the recent Mosul campaign. He further praised Iraq’s status as State Party to the Hague Convention of 1954 and its First Protocol and encouraged Iraq to fulfill its pledge to ratify the 1999 Second Protocol in order to cement its leadership in the field of cultural heritage protection.

Representing RASHID International at the seminar were its President, Professor Dr. Roger Matthews (University of Reading), Dr. Rozhen Mohammed-Amin (Sulaimani Polytechnic University) and Dr. Amy Richardson (University of Oxford). In addition to the seminar, RASHID experts spent several days in Geneva meeting with key diplomats and cultural heritage champions, as well as offering their insight during preparations of the seminar in closed high-level meetings the day before.

RASHID International would like to thank the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Professor Karima Bennoune, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) for their leadership and their outstanding efforts to include civil society in its full cultural diversity in the discussions. Of special note was the choice of a civil society representative, Ms. Sneška Quaedvlieg Mihailovic (Secretary General of Europa Nostra) as Chair of the seminar, a most welcome gesture that underlines the United Nations’ respect for civil society and resulted in well-run meetings.

Full audio recordings of the seminar are available on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ website at http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/ESCR/Pages/Audio.aspx

The results of the seminar will be presented as a report to the UN Human Rights Council during its 2018 March session. To enhance this report RASHID International has been invited to submit a 2000-word document to the OHCHR regarding possible implementation steps that might enhance the protection of the cultural heritage of Iraq.

 

Job Opening: Researcher (Archaeology)

The University of Reading, Department of Archaeology, is seeking a person to fill the post of Researcher, to assist Professor Roger Matthews with research and advanced administrative duties relating to his role as President of RASHID International (Research, Assessment, Safeguarding the Heritage of Iraq in Danger).

 

The main duties and responsibilities include:

  • Conducting targeted research into the cultural heritage and archaeology of Iraq
  • Developing research grant proposals for RASHID International projects
  • Co-authoring reports and research articles on the heritage and archaeology of Iraq
  • Participating in relevant workshops and conferences, national and international
  • Liaising with partner organisations and individuals engaged in related activities
  • Assisting with RASHID International outreach, including overseeing dedicated Facebook and Twitter accounts
  • Maintaining files and records for an impact case-study related to RASHID International work for Archaeology’s submission to REF2021
  • Assisting with administrative duties including organisation of meetings and workshops, minute-taking, and arranging flights and accommodation through University channels
  • Assisting with membership and fund-raising activities of RASHID International

 

You will have:

  • Strong skills in research including grant writing and co-authoring articles
  • Doctoral degree
  • Post-doctoral level research on the cultural heritage of Iraq
  • Strong organisational experience and abilities
  • Ability to work to short deadlines
  • Capability with Facebook and Twitter
  • Good IT skills in Word, Excel
  • Flexibility regarding time and place of work
  • Willingness to travel for conferences and workshops

Applications for this position have closed.

Council of Europe adopts 2017 Convention on Offences Relating to Cultural Property

In May 2017 the Council of Europe adopted the brand-new ‘Convention on Offences relating to Cultural Property’ in order to counter ongoing worldwide threats to cultural heritage by requiring States to criminalize theft, unlawful excavation, illegal importation/exportation and the knowing sale or acquisition of illicitly sourced cultural property, as well as destruction of or damage to any cultural property. Already signed by Cyprus, Greece, Armenia, Portugal, San Marino and Mexico.

Read the full text of the Convention here

RASHID is now on Facebook

RASHID International is now on Facebook! Visit our Facebook page and Like or Follow us to receive the latest news on RASHID activities and cultural heritage in Iraq delivered right into your Facebook Newsfeed. We share articles, updates and insight on recent or major developments in cultural heritage protection, analysis on international and national cultural heritage laws, photos of Iraqi heritage, relevant events and much, much more.

RASHID International Facebook Page

Upcoming Workshop: ‘Heritage in Conflict: the situation in Iraq and Syria’ – Marburg, Germany (24-28 July 2017, precise date to be decided)

Workshop announcement: ‘Heritage in Conflict: the situation in Iraq and Syria’

The SHIRIN (Syria) and RASHID (Iraq) organisations are planning a workshop to provide updates and critical reviews of the heritage situation in Iraq and Syria. As we all know, both these countries have suffered terribly from afflictions to their rich cultural heritage in recent years. In this workshop we invite papers that address relevant issues, including accounts of projects headed by local heritage authorities, scientific organisations and NGOs. For security reasons, many of these projects take place outside Iraq and Syria but we also wish to hear about projects taking place inside Iraq and Syria and perhaps in adjacent countries too. We also welcome proposals for papers that outline new projects, local, national and international, that may help to address heritage concerns and challenges in the months and years ahead, in particular as both Iraq and Syria strive for a future beyond DAESH.

The workshop will take place at the 63rd Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale in Marburg, Germany, on one day between 24-28 July 2017 (precise day to be fixed).

Please send paper proposals to shirinrashid.raiworkshop@rashid-international.org