by The European Association of Middle East Librarians –
BEIRUT (May 20, 2003) — MELCOM, the European Association of Middle East Librarians, assembled in Beirut at its 25th annual conference, unanimously:
Deplores the destruction and theft of Iraqi libraries, archives and their contents following the US and British led invasion and occupation of Iraq in April 2003. This occurred in breach of the United Nations Convention on the protection of cultural property of countries under military occupation.
Commends the efforts of UNESCO, IFLA and other international bodies to assess the extent of this damage and deplores the recent action of the occupying powers in refusing entry into Iraq to accredited representatives.
Insists that the international library community, of which it is part, play a full and unimpeded role in assisting Iraqi colleagues to restore, as far as possible, their library and archival heritage and infrastructure, a process MELCOM is willing to contribute to by offering the professional expertise of its members.
Proposes to send a highly qualified professional from among its members into Iraq to assess the situation and to report to the Board.
Supports the initiatives taken by our North American colleagues of the Middle East Librarians Association (MELA) and related organisations.
MELCOM International, The European Association of Middle East Librarians / Association Européenne des Bibliothécaires du Moyen-Orient