27.06.2011 - UNESCO Venice Office

Fighting illicit traffic of cultural property in South-East Europe: reaching out to the general public

©UNESCO -Fighting illicit traffic of cultural property in South-East Europe

On the occasion of the 17th session of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in case of Illicit Appropriation (Paris, UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, 30 June-1 July 2011), the UNESCO Venice Office will be presenting a 15-minute video on the fight against the illicit traffic of cultural property in South-East Europe.

The presentation will take place during the session on “Legal, practical and awareness-raising tools”, scheduled on 1 July from 3 to 5 PM, followed by a discussion.

Realized by the UNESCO Venice Office with the support and cooperation of the Ministries of Culture and the National Commissions for UNESCO from the South-East European region (Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Croatia, Greece, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey), this video aims at raising awareness of the general public.

While all the countries from the region have ratified the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, many archaeological sites, including underwater sites, museums, galleries or places of worship, continue nowadays to be exposed to theft and illicit trade.

This video is an opportunity to present facts and figures; promote best practices; put the emphasis on issues specific to the region (such as the fight against looting of religious heritage, the need for training, capacity-building, and sharing of information mechanisms); show images of famous and valuable stolen and recuperated objects; promote the value of all types of movable cultural properties; and, increase awareness of the wider public on the importance of their contribution to the appropriate management and protection of their cultural heritage.

Mobilizing public opinion, sharing information and good practices through regional and international cooperation, is of necessity. This video aims therefore at building awareness-raising of all concerned stakeholders, youth, tourists, policy-makers, curators, collectors, art dealers, museum guards, police and customs officers.

The video features interviews by Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO; Karl-Heinz Kind, Coordinator, Works of Art Unit, INTERPOL; Elena Korka, Director for the Documentation and Protection of Cultural Goods, Ministry of Culture, Greece; Colonnello Raffaele Mancino, Division for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, Comando dei Carabinieri-Tutela Patrimonio Culturale, Italy; Bianka Perčinić-Kavur, Chief of Department for Cultural Heritage, Ministry of Culture, Croatia; Despo Pilides, Curator of Antiquities, Ministry of Communications and Works, Cyprus.

Thanks to the generous support of the Federal Republic of Austria (Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture; Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs; Austrian Federal Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth), the video will be translated in all national languages of the concerned South-East European countries, and further disseminated. Meetings on awareness raising measures are foreseen to be organized in the region by the UNESCO Venice Office during the autumn 2011.

The Video : Fighting illicit traffic of cultural property in South-East Europe [15:54] will be released on UNESCO YouTube channel on 1 July 2011.

Link: Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict

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