UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property

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UNESCO 1970 Convention
UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property
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Official logo
Signed 14 November 1970
Location Paris, France
Effective 24 April 1972[1]
Condition Ratification of three states
Parties 136
Depositary United Nations/UNESCO
Language Authoritative in English, French, Russian and Spanish
Languages Available in English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, and Mandarin
[2]

The UNESCO 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transport of Ownership of Cultural Property is an international treaty.[2] The treaty, signed to combat illegal trade of cultural items, was signed 14 November 1970, and came under effect on 24 April 1972, as of 14 May 2018, 136 countries have signed the treaty.[1]

History[edit]

Before the 1970 UNESCO convention, the illegal trade of antique objects and cultural items was prevalent among the trade of drugs and weapons. Therefore, several sovereign states set about to preserve important historical and culturally significant objects,[3][4] these actions were a prelude to UNESCO's wide-scale attempt on the manners of preserving cultural objects.

The conception of the treaty began in April 1964, when UNESCO appointed a Committee of Experts from thirty states in April 1964; in 1968, UNESCO adopted Resolution 3.334[5], authorizing the creation of a committee to draft a convention. The UNESCO Director-General appointed a principal expert and four consultants to draft the text on the convention, for later review by each member state. Upon its revision, the text was sent to a Special Committee of Governmental Experts, which prepared a final draft around April 1970.

The convention was attended by 61 states, and then adopted at the 16th General Conference on 14 November 1970.

Details[edit]

Under the 1970 Convention, cultural property is under protection. Cultural property includes anything of scientific, historical, artistic, and or religiously significant, as defined by Article I of the convention.[6] However, every state can define its own cultural property, as long as it is an item of importance and within the categories defined in Article I.

The Convention recommends the enforcement of the protection of cultural property in "three main pillars", each being preventive measures, restitution provisions, and international cooperation. The first pillar, preventive measures, states that those signed to the treaty are to enforce the security and safety of cultural property, such as taking inventory, exportation certifications, monitoring of trade, and imposition of penal sanctions, the second pillar, restitution provisions, states that each sovereign state is to assist one another in the recuperation of stolen cultural property. The third pillar, international cooperation, is an attempt by the convention to strengthen international ties between signatories, and to provide assistance and cooperation with one another.[6]

Finally, under the convention, any party may seek the recovery and assistance of another state for the recovery of stolen or illegally exported cultural property imported into another state party, albeit only after the enforcement of the Convention in both states. However, the import or export of any cultural property is not legitimized, and can still fall under the terms of the convention.[6]

Statutory bodies[edit]

Under the Convention, several statutory bodies have been created to oversee the execution of the treaty's goals.

Meeting of States Parties[edit]

The Meeting of the States Parties to the 1970 Convention is the sovereign body of the convention. Made up of all the parties that are signed to the 1970 convention, this body organizes strategies and plans of action for the implementation of the convention, they met for the fourth time in May 2017.[7]

Subsidiary Committee[edit]

The Subsidiary Committee of the Meeting of States Parties to the 1970 Convention is a statutory body of the 1970 Convention, made of 18 members from the states signed to the convention on 4-year terms, which are controlled by the Meeting of States Parties,[8] its main functions are to not only promote the convention, but to review and inform the Meeting of States Parties, and to identify key problems in the Convention.

UNESCO Secretariat to the 1970 Convention[edit]

The UNESCO Secretariat of the 1970 Convention assists the Meetings of States Parties by organizing meetings for the Meetings of States Parties and other statutory branches of the convention and assisting in the development of resources and materials regarding the convention.[9]

UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee[edit]

The UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in Case of Illicit Appropriation (ICPRCP), or UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee, was created to provide assistance in the recuperation of cultural property, every two years, half of its 22 members are elected for 4 year terms. As an advisory body, this committee serves the direct assistance in the retrieval of property stolen via illicit trade,[10] it also serves as a possible place for dispute resolution.[11]

The Intergovermental Committee also manages the International Fund for the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in Case of Illicit Appropriation.[12]

UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects[edit]

Under UNESCO's request, UNIDROIT drafted the UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally exported Cultural Objects,[13] it serves as a body of private law for the international art trade to assist the efforts of the 1970 convention, which it reinforces with legal rules. It seeks to end technical problems resulting from different laws in different states, and to contribute in the effort against illegal trade of cultural items.

Key partners[edit]

Several agencies and organizations have assisted the 1970 Convention, including:

Non-governmental organizations[edit]

[edit]

The 1970 Convention consists of two images; a hand superimposed upon a vase. It is meant to represent the end (hand) of the illegal trade of cultural items (vase).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b UNESCO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. "Conventions". UNESCO.org. Archived from the original on 2018-05-14. Retrieved 2018-05-14. 
  2. ^ a b UNESCO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. "1970 Convention". UNESCO.org. Archived from the original on 2018-05-14. Retrieved 2018-05-14. 
  3. ^ Prott, Lyndel V. "Strengths and Weaknesses of the 1970 Convention: An Evaluation 40 years after its adoption" (PDF). UNESCO. Retrieved 18 June 2012. 
  4. ^ Reichelt, Gerte. "Study on The Protection of Cultural Property" (PDF). UNIDROIT. Retrieved 14 June 2012. 
  5. ^ UNESCO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. UNESCO — Records of the General Conference — Fifteenth Session — 1968, Paris — Resolutions (PDF). unesco.org. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2018-05-15. Retrieved 2018-05-15. 
  6. ^ a b c UNESCO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. "Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transport of Ownership of Cultural Property". UNESCO.org. Archived from the original on 2018-05-15. Retrieved 2018-05-15. 
  7. ^ UNESCO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. "Meeting of States Parties". UNESCO.org. Archived from the original on 2018-05-15. Retrieved 2018-05-15. 
  8. ^ UNESCO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. "Subsidiary Committee". UNESCO.org. Archived from the original on 2018-05-15. Retrieved 2018-05-15. 
  9. ^ UNESCO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. "Publications". UNESCO.org. Retrieved 2018-05-15. 
  10. ^ UNESCO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. "Restitution of Cultural Property". Retrieved 2018-05-15. 
  11. ^ UNESCO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. "UNESCO. General Conference , 33rd; STRATEGY TO FACILITATE THE RESTITUTION OF STOLEN OR ILLICITLY EXPORTED CULTURAL PROPERTY" (PDF). p. 3. Retrieved 2018-05-15. 
  12. ^ UNESCO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. "Fund of the Committee". Retrieved 2018-05-15. 
  13. ^ UNIDROIT, Institut international pour l'unification du droit privé. "UNIDROIT - Cultural Property - 1995 Convention". Retrieved 2018-05-15. 
  14. ^ INTERPOL, International Criminal Police Organization. "Works of art / Works of art / Crime areas / Internet / Home - Interpol". Retrieved 2018-05-15. 

External links[edit]