INTERPOL has marked the 40th anniversary of UNESCO’s Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property by highlighting the pivotal role of international collaboration against the illicit trafficking of cultural heritage during a UNESCO forum.
UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. UNESCO launched the World Heritage Convention in 1972 with the goal of protecting World Cultural and Natural Heritage. The idea for creating an international movement to protect world heritage emerged after World War I. The convention protects heritage by protecting cultural sites and conserving nature and it recognizes the fundamental need to preserve the balance of how people interact with nature.
Speaking on Tuesday at a special session which included UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova, the Director of INTERPOL’s Specialized Crime Unit, Bernd Rossbach said that crimes linked to the circulation of cultural goods and to their sale were of major concern to the international community as he focused on ‘the role of information-sharing and international co-operation against the theft and trafficking of cultural heritage’, including through INTERPOL’s range of global tools and services.
With the event aiming to evaluate and elaborate strategies to enhance the Convention’s implementation in the light of current trends in the illicit trafficking of cultural heritage, the meeting held an emergency review of measures to protect cultural heritage in North Africa following unrest in the region. Following this review, stakeholders are to deploy specialists to the affected region as part of a joint action plan to address pressing issues.
In this respect, INTERPOL’s Specialized Crime Unit Director encouraged concerned member states and agencies to widen the dissemination of information on stolen or retrieved cultural heritage to INTERPOL’s General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon, France.
In particular, Rossbach highlighted the role of INTERPOL’s database of stolen cultural objects in fighting against their illicit trade as well as of the world police body facilitating specialized training on protecting and securing cultural heritage.
To view the INTERPOL press release in its entirety click here.
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