Resolution on the Confiscation of Iraqi documents from the Iraq National Library Archives

Adopted at 2008 Midwinter Meeting

WHEREAS, The United States director of National Intelligence, John Negroponte, posted hundreds of Iraqi documents to the internet during the months of March 2006 through November 2006 for wider public distribution and dissemination; and

WHEREAS, Since November 2007, the director of the Iraq National Library and Archives, Dr. Saad Eskander, has publicly requested of the State Department and of the international community that the millions of Iraqi documents seized from the Archives by the United States and British forces after the fall of the Ba'ath regime be returned; and

WHEREAS, As of January 9, 2008, there is no evidence suggesting that seized Iraqi documents have been returned; and

WHEREAS, Historical documents unify a diverse population through the representation of a shared social and cultural memory; and

WHEREAS, Documents seized from the Iraq National Library and Archive represent Iraqi social memory and, as products of political and cultural institutions, had been preserved for longevity as cultural property in the Iraq National Library and Archive; and

WHEREAS, The Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, Chapter I, Article 1, defines cultural property as "moveable or immovable property of great importance to the cultural heritage of every people"; and

WHEREAS, In 2003, the American Library Association Council adopted the Resolution on Libraries and Cultural Resources in Iraq urging "The U.S. Government to ratify and comply with The Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its Second Protocol"; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That ALA condemns the confiscation of documents from the Iraq National Library and Archive by the United States and British forces and strongly advocates the immediate return of all documents, and, be it further

RESOLVED, That ALA calls for the United States Government to honor the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its Second Protocol.

SRRT Newsletter Issue 162/163, p. 11