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Training Workshop on Building Capacities on the Fight against Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Objects: Prevention, Cooperation, Restitution

The workshop is being held at the Viet Nam National History Museum between 15 to 17 December 2015 in Ha Noi.

This workshop will provide the necessary guidance for the ratification of the 1970 and 1995 Conventions and highlight actions to combat the illicit trafficking in cultural property in Southeast Asia.

For Southeast Asia, the imperative to bring the 1970 Convention into the foreground is particularly timely in light of the establishment of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community. In recent years, the social-economic growth of the region and the rapid expansion of the art market, in particular through internet, have created a high demand for cultural objects thereby increasing the danger of illegal trafficking of cultural artifacts originating from countries that do not have the necessary measures in place.

In light of these developments, UNESCO has intensified its capacity-building action in the region: the “Sub-regional Symposium for the Fight against Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Heritage in Southeast Asia” took place from 19 to 21 November 2014 in Bangkok. The symposium provided an ideal platform for discussion among national and international actors from museums, police and customs, archives and libraries, art professionals, art dealers, representatives of law enforcement institutions, on the policies and practices required to combat illicit trafficking of cultural property in Southeast Asia.

The upcoming workshop is addressed to cultural officers, customs officer, police force and museum professionals from Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines and Viet Nam.

The objectives of the workshop are:

  • working towards the ratification of international instruments, especially the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import and the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects;
  • providing technical assistance for the development of an effective national legislation to protect movable cultural heritage;
  • strengthening local mechanisms to protect cultural heritage sites from being looted, in particular at the level of police and customs;
  • building capacity in inventory-making and in the use of operational tools;
  • raising awareness about restitution procedures;
  • creating national and sub-regional networks of stakeholders involved in the protection of cultural heritage; and
  • strengthening current regional outreach and education campaigns.

Trainers taking part in delivering the training include representatives from the UNESCO 1970 Convention, the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention, INTERPOL, UNODC, and French customs (DNRED) as well as from the UNESCO Offices in Ha Noi, Bangkok and Jakarta.

The workshop has been organized thanks to the generous support of the Government of the Netherlands.

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