List of endangered cultural objects in Central America unveiled in Mexico

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The Independent Online

Officials from the International Council of Museums (ICOM) and Interpol (International criminal police) unveiled a "Red List" of 109 objects threatened to be robbed in Mexico and Central America, in a press conference in Mexico City on June 8, comprising prehispanic and colonial items.

Museums and churches have turned into the favorite places for cultural heritage looters in Central America and Mexico; cultural object trafficking has continually increased in the past few years according to Julien Anfruns, ICOM director, and Jean-Pierre Jouanny from Interpol (Lyon, France), during the press conference.  

The publication of this 7th Red List comprising items from Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama, aims at building public awareness about the richness of these objects to protect cultural heritage in these countries. This list is a tool to help museums, art traders, collectors and customs and police officers identify endangered objects.

The list offers various types of objects such as prehispanic ceramics, figurines, musical instruments, jade or metal ornaments, ceremonial objects, along with colonial paintings, sculptures and manuscripts...

The International Council of Museums (ICOM) is the main international organization of museums, depending upon UNESCO, focusing on the conservation, preservation and transmission of world heritage with members in over 150 countries.

Other Red Lists issued by ICOM comprise one for African Archaeological Objects (since 2000), one for Latin American Cultural Objects at Risk (since 2003), one for Iraqi and Afghanistan Antiquities, while the most recent one is the Red List of Cambodian Antiquities at Risk launched in 2009.