Strasbourg, January 13: international Colloquium on prevention of illicit trafficking in cultural goods

An international Colloquium on ‘Initiatives to strengthen international capacities for the protection of cultural property and the prevention of illicit trafficking in cultural goods – the Council of Europe Convention on Offences relating to Cultural Property‘ will take place in Strasbourg this week on January 13, 2017. It is organised by the Council of Europe.

The Cypriot Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe attaches particular importance to the protection of cultural heritage and the prevention of the illicit trafficking in cultural goods. This issue is also among the priorities of the Council of Europe. The Council of Europe is currently preparing a new Convention on Offences related to Cultural Property in its efforts to strengthen the framework of legal protection.

In this regard, the Cypriot Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and the Secretary General of the Organisation, are organising a Colloquium which will bring together high-level representatives from international organisations and relevant national authorities to discuss building synergies, co-ordinating international co-operation and improving the international framework for the protection of cultural property. …

Protecting cultural property is a transversal problem which requires a co-ordinated approach between local, national, regional and international actors. This Colloquium will therefore be an important step in exploring innovative approaches to create synergies and develop capacities to effectively protect cultural property from wanton destruction and to combat the trafficking of cultural goods.

The illicit excavation, export and import, acquisition, and sale of cultural property is a lucrative and complex issue often linked to cross-border organised crime. Beyond the fact that the illicit trafficking of cultural goods today constitutes a source of terrorist financing, it is important to consider the enormous damage caused by the destruction of cultural heritage to our shared history and national identities.

Notably, in Iraq and Syria, Daesh has been plundering the region’s cultural heritage, deliberately destroying important archaeological sites and profiting from the sale of valuable excavated artefacts.

Prof. Dr. Maamoun Abdulkarim, Director-General of the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums, Syria, will give a keynote speech following the address by Ms Irina BOKOVA, Director-General of UNESCO.

You can find here further information of the one day colloquium and the draft program here.


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