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Fight Illicit Trafficking, Return & Restitution of Cultural Property

Celebrating 50 years of UNESCO's action

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Fight against illicit traffic in cultural property


Theft, looting and illicit trafficking of cultural property is a crime.  It deprives people of their history and culture, it weakens social cohesion in the long term. It fuels organized crime and contributes to the financing of terrorism.

UNECO works to provide a clear and strong response to stem this scourge.

Since its founding, UNESCO has been developing benchmark legal instruments, including the 1970 Convention - the culmination of a long process of reflection on the fight against the illicit traffic of cultural property. It is a collective duty to act against the illicit trafficking of cultural property and to protect cultural heritage.