Washington, D.C. – Today, the House passed bipartisan legislation to protect international cultural property from being destroyed or looted by ISIS.  The Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act (H.R. 1493), introduced by Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), improves coordination of U.S. efforts to protect cultural property, and prevent artifacts removed since the start of Syria’s civil war from being sold or imported into the United States.

On the legislation’s passage, Chairman Royce said:  “It’s no exaggeration to say the history of civilization is under attack.  In addition to ISIS’s campaign of sickening violence against men, women and children, the extremists are looting and destroying their way through ancient sites considered the birthplace of modern civilization.  The looting of antiquities is big business for ISIS.  Some reports indicate they are earning as much as $100 million annually from the sale of stolen artifacts.  Passing today’s important legislation helps the U.S. do its part to counter the smuggling and sale of stolen Syrian antiquities.”