THE FIGHT AGAINST THE ILLICIT TRAFFICKING OF UNESCO

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Information kit on the 1970 Convention, 1 Facts and figures on illicit trafficking in cultural property. 2 The 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import Export. and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property,3 Statutory Bodies of the 1970 Convention. 4 The 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects and other. international legal instruments on illicit trade, 5 UNESCO s Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property. 6 International Fund for the Return and the Restitution of Cultural Property. 7 Practical Actions and awareness raising activities on the fight against the illicit trafficking. of cultural goods what does UNESCO do, 8 Recent examples of successful return of cultural property. 9 Donors and Partners in the fight against illicit trafficking. 10 Participation in illicit trafficking instruments States Parties. Website http www unesco org new en culture themes illicit traffic of cultural property 1970. convention,1 FACTS AND FIGURES, GLOBAL INFORMATION ON THE ILLICIT TRAFFICKING OF CULTURAL GOODS.
The first decade of the 21 century has seen a major change in attitude towards recently. excavated antiquities, The illicit trafficking of antiquities is estimated to be superior to US 6 billion per year according to. a research conducted by the United Kingdom s House of Commons on July 2000 Ten years. later the UN report on transnational crimes calculated that the world traffic in cocaine reached. US 72 billion arms 52 heroine 33 counterfeiting 9 8 and cybercrime 1 25 Together with the. trafficking in drugs and arms the black market of antiquities and culture constitutes one of the. most persistent illegal trades in the world Other sources estimate that in 1993 the global. sales of cultural property legitimate or not reached the value of US 39 3 billion Today it would. be around 60 with an increase of 50 in a decade and an unprecedented growth of offer on the. Based on the investigations carried out on the illicit trafficking in masterpieces in the world it is. estimated that 98 of the final market price of an object remains in the pocket of middlemen It. is estimated that from illegal excavation to final sale the value of the most beautiful. masterpieces increases 100 fold a greater growth than that of drugs. Relevant examples, Many private collections containing looted objects were exhibited in the 90s mostly in the US but. also in London St Petersburg and Berlin For example 62 of the exhibited objects of the Ortiz. collection came from an unknown origin, Examining the exhibitions of major collections researchers found that 70 of the objects were. described in a vague and insufficient way, 80 of Etruscan and Roman antiquities on the market today have an illegal provenance. estimates Maurizio Fiorilli Deputy General Advocate of the Italian State who chaired the. Ministry s Commission for the restitution of illicitly exported artifacts. 31 of the total corpus of Apulian pots more than 4 200 vases produced only in Apulia now. Puglia and not traded outside this area excavated between 1980 1992 are undocumented and. lack certification of provenance From the 13 718 Apulian vases known to scholars only 5 5. 753 were legally excavated by professional archaeologists. Only 13 of Attic red figure pots attributed to the Berlin painter come from a relatively secure. archaeological context Well over 50 of the pots attributed to this painter come from illegal. excavations, This document was prepared on the basis of the information provided by the journalist Fabio Isman in March 2011.
F Isman I predatori dell arte perduta il saccheggio dell archeologia in Italia Milano 2009 pag 29. UNODC United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Wien 2010 Annual Report. C Forrest International law and the protection of cultural Heritage New York 2010. F Isman ivi page 27, R J Elia Analysis of the looting selling and collecting of Apulian red figure vases a quantitative approach in N Brodie J. Doole and C Renfrew Trade in illicit antiquities the destruction of the world s archaeological heritage Cambridge McDonald. Institute for Archaeological Research United Kingdom 2001. D W J Gill cit, In 40 years the Italian carabinieri have recovered 800 000 stolen or illegally excavated. artifacts yet the quantity of unresolved reports exceeds by far the number of recovered. artifacts according to a document of the Italian Parliament 10 000 people have been. investigated in Italy 2 500 by the public prosecutor Paolo Giorgio Ferri who is also a Ministry. adviser a million artifacts have been illegally excavated and sold since 1970. The economic value of ceramics from Athens sold at Sotheby s in New York in 1998 for US. 1 200 000 decreased after the beginning of investigations in Italy In 2001 their value declined to. US 450 000 and in 2009 it increased again to US 600 000. From 2002 onwards Egypt has recuperated 5 000 objects of illicit provenance The smuggler. Al Aboutaam was arrested in 2003 and condemned to 15 years of prison for having illegally. exported 280 cultural objects,The destruction of antiquity. According to Alain Godonou former Director of the Ecole du patrimoine africain EPA and now. Director of UNESCO s Division of Cultural Objects and Intangible Heritage most African. countries have lost 95 of their cultural property, 1 6 million cultural objects from China are estimated to be scattered in 200 museums in 47. countries and millions are in private collections China owns more than 400 000. archaeological sites but since the 80s thefts in museums increased by one third In 10 years. 30 000 artifacts were found by the customs of Shenzhen. The earthquake that struck Haiti on 12 January 2010 devastated its capital region killing 300 000. leaving over a million people homeless and a nation in ruins Haiti s museums churches art. galleries libraries and archives were destroyed damaged or endangered Troves of. historical books and documents treasured artistic works and architectural features and artifacts. of great cultural significance all were at risk of being lost forever. In Italy in Cerveteri 400 to 550 Etruscan tombs were looted after the end of World War II In. 1995 at the free port of Geneva a stock belonging to the smuggler Medici contained 6 000. artifacts A 58 page inventory of these artifacts was compiled Medici has been condemned also. for complicity in the destruction of at least 200 000 archaeological sites and is also suspected. of looting 20 000 artifacts illegally excavated,Mayan Heritage.
At least 1 000 ceramic objects worth more than US 10 million are illicitly excavated every. month in the Mayan region of Central America In 1970 an Italian dealer tried to export. illegally 12 000 artifacts from Ecuador where hundreds of sites were damaged In Belize a. researcher points out that in some archaeological sites only 50 out of 200 people conducting. excavations are official archaeologists, In Turkey from 1993 to 1995 at least 17 500 investigations have been opened for looting of art. In 1992 alone 5 000 icons disappeared from Bulgarian churches. Camera dei Deputati Roma Italia Relazione illustrativa allegata al Disegno di legge di delega al governo presentato dal. ministro Francesco Rutelli per riformare le sanzioni penali in materia di reati contro il patrimonio culturale 23 5 2007. Il Giornale dell Arte luglio 2010 intervista al Pm Paolo Giorgio Ferri. D W J Gill cit, L Ji The two zodiacs possible method for returning lost relics in China in Art antiquity and law June 2009. http www unesco org new fr bfc office in port au prince. P Watson e C Todeschini The Medici Conspiracy New York 2006 pagg 54 e segg. Roma procedimento numero 40402 00 a carico di Giacomo Medici Marion True Robert Hecht e altri sentenza del Gup. Guglielmo Muntoni 13 12 2004,Former Czechoslovakia. In the former Czechoslovakia a third of churches were robbed in the 1990s 20 000 artifacts. illicitly exported from the country every day from 1993 to 1996 3 580 thefts from churches and. sacred places were reported 1 250 from castles 750 from museums and 1 400 from private. apartments, In Nigeria during the 90s over 400 artifacts have been stolen from museums and other. institutions The looting of cultural objects continues. Since 1975 hundreds of Buddha statues near Angkor Wat have been mutilated many of. them decapitated UNESCO estimates that such events happen once a day. United States of America, In the United States a survey conducted in 1991 shows that in Nebraska 28 of sites of.
particular importance have been damaged by illegal excavators looking for fossils. Bangladesh, From a collection of ancient manuscripts from 750 AD to 1200 AD only one remains in. Bangladesh The others are scattered around the world. Wars and armed conflicts, During the 1991 Gulf War 3 000 known antiquities disappeared in Iraq It s estimated that many. thousands of other non inventoried objects have been removed from ancient sites At the same time. the number of artifacts for sale in London and New York increased in a marked measure The. spoliation of the Sennacherib Palace at Nineveh is particularly documented the robbers broke bas. reliefs to carry them more easily During the operations against Saddam Hussein around 15 000. artifacts were robbed from the Baghdad Museum Seven thousand were recovered 2 000 in the. USA 250 in Switzerland 100 by Italian Carabinieri 2 000 were stopped in Jordan others in Beirut. and Switzerland while in transit to New York But the statue of Entemena King of Lagash 2 450 BC. has not been recovered to date The Magistrate of the State of Delaware USA has restituted 25. cuneiform slabs to Iraq from where they had been robbed They were found in July 2010 by an art. dealer in California Several others processes of restitution are still ongoing. Libya boasts an extremely rich cultural heritage that unfortunately has suffered years of. neglect and most recently the perils of conflict After months of conflict there is still growing. concern from the international community about the state of the Libyan cultural heritage and its role in. the future of the country Improving the protection of Libya s heritage sites and valuable collections. of antiquities is of pressing importance There have been a number of incidents of vandalism and. theft from archaeological sites and museums Such thefts were ongoing long before the revolution In. 2006 the BBC reported that at least 90 important items had been stolen from Tripoli Museum since. 1988 due to inadequate security Two valuable statue fragments have been returned to Libya from. Europe this year having been recognized as stolen, Damage to Timbuktu s cultural heritage due to fighting between Government forces and Tuareg rebels. is alarming In 2013 Lazare Eloundou Assomo of the UN Educational Scientific and Cultural. Organization s UNESCO World Heritage Centre said the destruction is even more alarming than we. thought During an official visit in 2013 it was discovered that 14 of Timbuktu s mausoleums. including those that are part of the UNESCO World Heritage sites were totally destroyed In. addition the fighting destroyed parts of the Djingareyber Mosque one of three madrassas comprising. E de Roux e R P Paringaux Razzia sur l art Paris 1999 pag 95. Da qui di nuovo in N Brodie J Doole P Watson cit, http www unesco org new en culture themes illicit traffic of cultural property emergency actions. M Bogdanos The thieves of Baghdad in I Vinson cit, D George The looting of the Iraq National Museum in P Stone cit.
Delaware on line 19 2 2011, http www unesco org new en culture themes illicit traffic of cultural property emergency actions libya. the University of Timbuktu It is believed to have been built around 1327 mostly out of straw and wood. with some limestone reinforcements, The Syrian Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums DGAM has recently reported a. dramatic rise in illegal excavations of archaeological sites and looting of museums in Syria. which increases the threat of illicit trafficking of cultural property. The recent events in Egypt are only the latest in which objects and places of art have been. endangered by wars or armed conflicts During the protests against Hosni Mubarak archaeological. sites of great importance have been looted According to a declaration of Zahi Hawass ancient. tombs at Saqqara and Abusir as well as deposits in Saqqara and at the University of Cairo were. looted At least nine artifacts were robbed from the National Museum of Cairo. Afghanistan, In 1993 when the staff of the Museum of Kabul was sacked during the withdrawal of Russian troops. the robbers used the same guides of the museum to search out the best pieces. Bangladesh, At the end of the Independence War in Bangladesh 1971 2 000 Hindu temples were destroyed or. seriously damaged and 6 000 sculptures were exported by smugglers. During the coup d tat of 1997 the best pieces were robbed from the deposits of the National. Museum of Zaire Kinshasa Fortunately an accurate inventory exists. http www unesco org new en culture themes illicit traffic of cultural property emergency actions mali. http www unesco org new en culture themes illicit traffic of cultural property emergency actions syria. The New York Times 18 2 2011, For this and the successive notices see N Brodie J Doole P Watson cit.
2 THE 1970 UNESCO CONVENTION ON THE MEANS OF PROHIBITING AND PREVENTING THE.

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