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75352 PARIS 07 SP, France


Nurturing the democratic debate.  
23-06-2005 10:00 am The UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects, one of the most important legal instruments in the global effort to curb illicit transfer of cultural property, is celebrating its 10th anniversary. To mark the occasion, UNESCO, which initiated the Convention’s elaboration, is organizing the conference “UNESCO and UNIDROIT - Cooperation in the Fight against Illicit Traffic in Cultural Property” on June 24 (9.30 a.m. to 6 p.m.) at UNESCO (Room XII).
UNESCO has invited distinguished experts to speak at the conference from both legal and practical standpoints – Professor Paul Lagarde and Marina Schneider from UNIDROIT, Karl-Heinz Kind from INTERPOL and John Zvereff from ICOM.

Representatives from the European Commission, the U.S. State Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Italian Carabinieri, Europol, and the Department of Canadian Heritage will also take part, among others.

The steady increase in the number of States Parties to the relevant international conventions and the multiplication of requests for the return or restitution of cultural property reflect the world-wide increase of illicit trafficking in cultural property and growing awareness of the problem, as well as the great importance States give to protecting their cultural heritage.

UNESCO initiated the elaboration process of the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention, to complement the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property from the point of view of private law. The 1995 UNIDROIT Convention’s 10th anniversary provides a timely occasion to acknowledge the progress in ratification and implementation of both Conventions over the last ten years, and to review the situation of illicit trafficking and discuss the measures that must be taken to derail it.

Today, the UNIDROIT Convention, still relatively young, has 24 States Parties, while the UNESCO 1970 Convention currently has 107 States Parties, including important art market States such as France, Japan, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Conference participants will have the opportunity to discuss the value, distinguishing features and operational aspects of both instruments. They are encouraged to enrich the discussion with questions, ideas and information. Participants from States not yet parties to either or both conventions will have the opportunity to obtain information relevant to facilitating their ratification.

The Object ID Standard, the UNESCO Cultural Heritage Laws Database and the Model Export Certificate for Cultural Objects developed by UNESCO and the World Customs Organization will also be presented at the conference.

Journalists who wish to cover the conference require accreditation from UNESCO’s Press Relations Section

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Source Media Advisory N°2005-44


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