General Assembly reviews efforts to curb illegal trade in cultural property

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Makonde mask

Ambassadors meeting in the UN General Assembly on Wednesday are hearing how the illicit traffic in cultural property continues despite global efforts to combat it.

Introducing a draft resolution on the return or restitution of these items to their countries of origin, Greek ambassador Anastassis Mitsialis pointed out that the threat of smuggling rises during times of crisis or conflict.

He described cultural heritage as a mirror of a country's history, as it represents values, traditions, and ways of perceiving the world.

"Whether it is a Makonde mask, an Etruscan vase or a Parthenon frieze, they all are a testimony of a nation’s path into time. But in order for them to continue to serve their artistic, aesthetic and social raison d’etre, they must be protected against illicit acts and use and, in such cases, to be restored and returned to their natural environment, outside of which they can no longer inspire the collective conscience of humanity."

Duration: 31″

The draft resolution also condemns recent attacks on World Cultural Heritage Sites.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’14″

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