Portal de la Cultura de América Latina y el Caribe
Museums-Illicit Trafficking

  Siguiente Vista de Noticias
Museums and cultural goods are not only repositories of the identity and the cultural diversity but also powerful vectors for social cohesion and human development. In areas that have recently suffered conflicts, strengthening of museums contributes to reconciliation in the country and with neighboring countries, as well as to social cohesion.

The UNESCO strategy aimed at the protection of cultural property has the dual purpose to promote the implementation of existing Conventions and the organization of operational activities at a national scale.

Over the past decades, illicit traffic of cultural property has grown to epidemic proportions, comparable to the international illicit trade of drugs or guns. This traffic affects States worldwide and the damages and loses to the cultural heritage affects particularly those States that cannot protect themselves.

Latin American States are confronted with illicit traffic of pre-Columbian, religious and colonial cultural heritage, among others, as well as with the illicit commercialization of the underwater cultural heritage extracted from shipwrecks and other submerged structures.

The Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, approved by UNESCO General Conference on 1970, aims at fighting the illicit traffic of cultural properties regardless of whether it is the result of actions by villagers looting ancient burial sites, members of a criminal organization, auction houses, unscrupulous antique dealers, museum curators, collectors or by amateurs.

In an armed conflict or natural disaster situation, heritage is particularly at risk, owing to its inherent vulnerability and tremendous symbolic value. In order to prevent illicit trafficking and destruction of cultural heritage, UNESCO acts as a coordinator and catalyst to bolster cooperation and strengthen networking among national and international actors.

The Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict adopted at The Hague (Netherlands) in 1954, is the first international treaty dedicated exclusively to the protection of cultural heritage in that case. The Convention was adopted together with a Protocol and a Second Protocol was adopted in 1999.

UNESCO Offices in Latin America and the Caribbean, in close cooperation with numerous stakeholders, support national efforts to ratify and effectively implement the UNESCO 1970 and 1954 Conventions, the UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects (1995) and the 2001 Convention for the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage, as well as 1972 and 2003 Conventions devoted to the protection of the cultural and natural heritage and the intangible heritage.

They also implement capacity-building actions and facilitate the regional cooperation as well as the exchanging of information and best practices on the fight against illicit traffic of cultural properties, , supported by the Conventions and other materials like the UNESCO manual Legal and Practical Measures Against Illicit Trafficking in Cultural Property and the Recommendation Concerning the Protection and Promotion of Museums and Collections, their Diversity and their Role in Society, among others.

S/RES/2347 (2017) Resolution 2347 (2017). Resolution for the protection of heritage adopted by the United Nations Security Council at its 7907th meeting, on 24 March 2017 
The fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural objects. The 1970 Convention: past and future. Information Kit 
Legal and Practical Measures Against Illicit Trafficking in Cultural Property  (<a href='http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001461/146118s.pdf' target='_blank'>ESPAÑOL</a>)  (<a href='http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001461/146118f.pdf' target='_blank'>FRANÇAIS</a>) 
Culture & Development Nº 10<BR>Stop the Illicit Traffic of Cultural Property 
Recommendation Concerning the Protection and Promotion of Museums and Collections, their Diversity and their Role in Society 
Key Concepts of Museology

  Top Page  Top  
Portal de la Cultura - América Latina y el Caribe de la UNESCO


| World Heritage | Intangible Heritage | Underwater Cultural Heritage | Museums – Light Against Illicit Trafficking | Diversity of Cultural Expressions |
| Cultural Policies | Culture and Development | Meeting Ministers Culture CELAC | 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development | © 2019 |