May 13, 2003

The Honorable James Moran
2239 Rayburn House Office Building
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515-0017

Dear Mr. Moran:

      I am writing on behalf of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) to urge you to co-sponsor the Iraq Cultural Heritage Protection Act (H.R. 2009) introduced by Representatives Phil English and Jim Leach on May 7.  As you know, one of the outcomes of the war in Iraq has been extensive looting and destruction of Iraq?s cultural heritage, including the loss of archaeological materials and cultural materials housed at museums and cultural sites in Iraq.  H.R. 2009 would help halt the looting of Iraq?s cultural heritage by banning the import of any archaeological material or cultural material of Iraq into the U.S. unless the Government of Iraq certifies that the material exported from Iraq was not in violation of the laws of Iraq.  The bill would aid the return of looted material to Iraq by authorizing the seizure and forfeiture of such items under the customs laws of the U.S. and specifying their return to Iraq.  The bill amends the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act to ensure that U.S. authorities impose these import restrictions on cultural heritage from Iraq now and in similar situations in the future.

      By way of background, the AAA is the world?s largest association of anthropologists.  The purposes of the AAA are to advance anthropology as the discipline that studies humankind in all its aspects, to further the professional interests of anthropologists, and to disseminate anthropological knowledge to address human problems.  Founded in 1902, the AAA is the only organization in the U.S. to represent the entire field of anthropology, including archaeology, social and cultural anthropology, biological and physical anthropology, and linguistic anthropology in both academic and applied settings.

      Sincerely yours,

      Don Brenneis, Ph.D.

Take Action - help protect Iraq's cultural heritage


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