Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, delivered remarks at a forum entitled “Death of History: Witnessing Heritage Destruction in Syria and Iraq.”  The forum calls attention to ISIS’s destruction and looting of cultural antiquities in Syria and Iraq.

On the forum Chairman Royce said:  “This exhibit’s title – ‘Death of History’ – is no exaggeration.  ISIS continues to terrorize whole populations in Iraq and Syria.  And while no offense is more appalling than the human toll of ISIS’s depravity, we now face an unprecedented destruction of cultural heritage, as these extremists loot their way through the birthplace of modern civilization.

“ISIS makes as much as $100 million a year from the sale of artifacts, whether dug from the ground or stolen from the Mosul Museum.  Whatever these extremists cannot transport, they destroy.

“In times of crisis the U.S. has historically led the fight to protect cultural property.  We must resume our leadership, and support those on the ground in conflict zones, who are risking their lives to preserve the world’s history for future generations.”

Note: Chairman Royce is an original cosponsor of the Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act (H.R. 1493), which passed the House earlier this year.  The bipartisan legislation, introduced by Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), would improve coordination of U.S. efforts to protect cultural property, and prevent those artifacts removed since the start of Syria’s civil war from being sold or imported into the United States.