23.06.2012 - ODG

The Director-General welcomes the significant progress of international cooperation against the illicit trafficking of cultural property

Red-figure bell-crater, c. 330-300 BC ©Sopraintendenza Speciale per i beni archeologici di Roma

During her visit to the exhibition of stolen and recovered cultural property organized by UNESCO and the Italian Carabinieri, the Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova thanked the Italian authorities for their cooperation in the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural property. Thirty one artworks are exhibited at UNESCO headquarters to raise awareness of the illegal trafficking of cultural property exported from their country of origin. The exhibition, open to the public, coincides with the second meeting of States Parties to the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural property.

The Director-General stopped before several outstanding pieces, one of the first letters of Christopher Columbus printed in Latin and several archaeological pieces, including a crater vase from Paestum (IV BC) and a pre-Columbian statues stolen in Ecuador.

"This exhibition provides insight to tangible results from international cooperation in the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural property. Each piece of art that has been found, often beyond the borders of its home country, shows the excellence and complexity of the work of the Italian Carabinieri, in collaboration with national authorities, local police forces and actors in art markets. I hope that many visitors will experience this through this exhibition," said the Director-General.

In the presence of HE Mr. Maurizio Serra, Ambassador of Italy to UNESCO and Mr Alberto Deregibus, Italian Carabinieri seconded to the Secretariat of UNESCO, the Director-General expressed satisfaction with the results of the Second Meeting of States Parties to the 1970 Convention, which had ended the day before, chaired by the Ambassador of Mexico.

"The decision of the States Parties to establish a new mechanism for monitoring and the implementation of the Convention is a very positive step. The treaty now has a stronger backbone, like the other UNESCO cultural conventions, which will significantly improve the cooperation of States in the fight against trafficking of cultural goods. I commend Mexico for its effectiveness in conducting this important work. We must continue in this direction".

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