Modalities of requesting return or restitution

A request for return or restitution emanating from a Member State of UNESCO or observer, can be made for cultural objects having a fundamental significance for this State and having been lost because of an illicit appropriation.


  • Before bringing a case before the Intergovernmental Committee, the requesting State must initiate bilateral negotiations with the State in which the requested object is located. Only when such negotiations have failed or are suspended can the case be brought before the Committee.
  • In 1981, a Standard Form Concerning Requests for Return or Restitution was devised by the Intergovernmental Committee, to be filled out by both parties concerned.
  • In order to be examined, a request for return or restitution has to be submitted at least six months before the session of the Intergovernmental Committee.
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