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Modalities of requesting return or restitution

A request for return or restitution emanating from a UNESCO Member State or Observer can be made for cultural objects of fundamental significance for the State which was lost due to an illicit appropriation.


  • Prior to 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 have been 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 completed by both of the concerned parties .
  • A request for return or restitution has to be submitted at least six months before the next session of the Intergovernmental Committee in order for it to be considered.
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