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Comoros ratifies UNESCO 1970 Convention for protection of cultural property

Presentation of the instrument of ratification of the UNESCO 1970 Convention by Comoros Delegation to the UNESCO Director-General and the Assistant Director-General for Culture © Permanent Delegation of Comoros to UNESCO

On 17 March 2021, H. E. Mr. Ali Amir, Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of Comoros to UNESCO deposited his country’s instrument of ratification for the 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property with the UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. The Convention will enter into force for Comoros in three months after the deposit of the instrument of ratification.

To date, 140 countries have ratified the Convention, and the Comoros will become the 141st State Party of the Convention. Comoros is also the 8th country in Eastern Africa to ratify this Convention after Djibouti, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles and Tanzania.

UNESCO is currently celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1970 Convention, and the adoption of the Convention by Comoros on this momentous occasion will strengthen UNESCO’s efforts to promote the guidance and impact of the 1970 Convention on the protection of cultural property. Comoros will also join the State Parties and other Member States from the Africa region who are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1970 Convention as well as the 25th anniversary of the complementary 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects, during a regional conference planned for 26-27 April 2021, which aims to strengthen synergies for the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural property, of which this region is particularly affected, and to discuss needs and priorities for the return and restitution of cultural property in the Africa region.

Ratification of the UNESCO 1970 Convention is an essential first step in protecting cultural property, and I strongly encourage other countries in Eastern Africa, who have not already done so, to follow Comoros lead in ratifying this critical tool for the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural property. Our Regional Office will continue to actively support Comoros in awareness- raising and reinforcing national capacities to protect its cultural property and strengthen synergies for protection in the Eastern Africa region.
Ms. Ann Therese Ndong Jatta, Director, UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa

With this recent ratification of the UNESCO 1970 Convention, Comoros has now ratified four key UNESCO Conventions in the field of culture, including: the 1972 Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, which it ratified in 2000; the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, and the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, both of which were ratified in 2013. With the support of UNESCO, Comoros also adopted a new legislation in 2021 to protect and promote its national heritage, which takes into account the guidance of the entire portfolio of UNESCO Conventions for the sustainable development of Comoros.

For more information on the 1970 Convention, please visit: https://en.unesco.org/fighttrafficking/1970