Islamic State: Finance

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 27th April 2016.

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Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Shadow Foreign Secretary

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to disrupt and prevent the sale of antiquities by Daesh to finance their terrorist activities.

Photo of Philip Hammond Philip Hammond Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

Holding answer received on 18 January 2016

Daesh has two main sources of funding. About 40% comes from extorting communities living in territory it controls; and around 40% from selling oil. It also gets a small amount of funding from selling looted antiquities and donations from individuals in the region and around the world. The trade in stolen cultural property accounts for only a small proportion of Daesh revenues, and is mostly carried out by third parties operating in Daesh territory.

UK efforts in this area have focussed on limiting the market into which Daesh can sell looted antiquities into. UN Security Council 2199, which we co-sponsored in February 2015, sanctions those trading with Daesh and includes provisions on cultural heritage. The UK has an effective domestic legal framework for matters of cultural property. All import or export of illegally removed Iraqi and Syrian cultural property is prohibited, and it is a criminal offence in the UK to deal dishonestly in tainted cultural property from anywhere in the world.

The Government announced at the end of 2015 that a new Cultural Protection Fund would be established to help address recovery from acts of cultural destruction overseas, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office co-hosted a summitt in October 2015, with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, to support this.

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