Works of Art: INTERPOL and ICCROM-Sharjah host ‘international first aid course’

23 December 2019
Protecting cultural heritage sites from crisis situations

SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates – INTERPOL and ICCROM have just concluded the first high-level international training course for specialized police units on "First Aid to Cultural Heritage for Preventing Illicit Trafficking in Times of Crisis".

The 10-day joint course (8-19 December) was carried out with the financial support of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of the Swiss Government, and gracious support of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.

With organized crime groups taking advantage of the vulnerability of cultural sites, monuments and immovable property to loot unprotected artefacts, the 25 representatives from INTERPOL Regional and National Bureaus and specialized police units focused on building immediate response mechanisms to cultural heritage sites in times of crisis.

Other topics included:

  •  An overview and analysis of trends in the illicit traffic of cultural property;
  • Basic concepts related to the significance of cultural heritage;
  • Disaster and risk management.
The two-week course included hands-on exercises
The two-week course included hands-on exercises

The closing ceremony was held in the in the premises of the ICCROM Regional Office, and saw the participation of Sheikh Mohammed bin Humaid Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Department of Statistics and Community Development.

Corrado Catesi, Coordinator of the INTERPOL’s works of Art Unit, said, "This training course is one of the main results of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between INTERPOL and ICCROM to concretely improve the capability of the police forces in preventing and countering all forms and aspects of trafficking in cultural properties and related offences."

Vincent Pasquier, Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission represented the Swiss Government, and also spoke about the importance of international training courses.

To conclude the course, participants presented the results of a hands-on practical exercise, after which certificates were handed out by Sheikh Mohammed bin Humaid.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Humaid Al Qasimi was present at the conclusion of the course
Sheikh Mohammed bin Humaid Al Qasimi was present at the conclusion of the course

Countries involved