Emergency Actions in Haiti

From the first hours of the earthquake in January 2010, UNESCO has responded by creating a crisis team and sent a mission to Port-au-Prince. The Organization ensured a follow-up on projects relating to educational services and mobilized the international community to discourage looting. It was necessary to take conservatory measures for a temporary ban on trade and transfer of Haitian cultural goods suspected of being stolen from a cultural institution or a place of worship.

Based on the principles of the 1970 Convention, an appeal was launched to MINUSTAH to ensure the protection of emblematic sites and museums in the country, and a campaign was set up for a temporary international ban on the trade of Haitian works of art. Also based on the 1970 Convention, the Director General alerted WCO and INTERPOL as well as specialized police units from France and Italy to exercise increased vigilance in Haiti and importing countries. All of these bodies responded promptly and positively to this alert.

Capacity-building workshop (June 2014)

From 23 to 26 June 2014, a capacity-building workshop on the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural property was held in Port-au-Prince. Organized by the UNESCO Office in Port-au-Prince, in partnership with the Ministry of Culture in Haiti, the National Bureau of Ethnology, MUPANAH (Musée du Panthéon National Haïtien), ISPAN (L’institut de sauvegarde du patrimoine national), Haiti ICOM, the General Administration of Customs and the National Police of Haiti.

UNESCO DG returns to Haiti (September 2013)

From 16 to 18 September 2013, the UNESCO Director-General visited Haiti for a second time to assess the progress achieved by the cooperation between Haiti and UNESCO since her last visit in March 2010.

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UNESCO DG visits Haiti (March 2010)

The UNESCO Director-General met with governmental authorities and represetatives of NGOs. In relation to culture, Irina Bokova reminded the audience the commitment UNESCO has undertaken to work to protect and rebuild the cultural heritage of Haiti, which was largely destroyed by the earthquake on 12 January of the same year, and continues to be threatened by acts of vandamism, looting and illicit trade of cultural property.

International Coordination Committee (ICC)

UNESCO laid the foundation for an International Coordination Committee (ICC) for Haitian culture at a meeting on 16 February 2010 in Paris, opened by Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General. The meeting was chaired by Marie-Laurence Jocelyn Lassègue, Haiti’s Minister of Culture and Communication, and Françoise Rivière, the Organization’s Assistant Director-General for Culture.

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Video (UNESCO YouTube)

Letters by the UNESCO DG (January 2010)

Following an appeal to the Secretary-General of the United Nations for the Security Council to adopt a resolution for a temporary ban on the transfer and trade of Haitian cultural goods, the UNESCO Director-General specified the need, in particular for art traders, to verify the origin of artifacts which could be imported, exported and/or sold on the Internet. The objective of this initiative was in no way to prevent commercial transactions of handicrafts and contemporary creations that are an important source of income for the people of Haiti.

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