Workshop on “Fighting Illicit Trafficking in Cultural Property” underway in St. Lucia

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Workshop on “Fighting Illicit Trafficking in Cultural Property” underway in St. Lucia

Tuesday, December 04, 2012 – A three day UNESCO “ Sub-regional Capacity Building Workshop to enable Caribbean Member States to effectively fight illicit trafficking in Cultural Property”  being hosted by the Saint Lucia National Commission for UNESCO opened here Monday, December 3 and comes to a close on Wednesday, December 5,  2012.

The UNESCO workshop involves the participation of 14 UNESCO member states and is being facilitated by several international UNESCO partners such as INTERPOL.

Program Specialist, UNESCO Regional Office in Havana, Tatiana Villegas  says the three-day workshop is aimed at fighting the illegal trade of cultural property which has grown substantially to levels similar to gun and drug trafficking.

“This workshop is part of a global programme that UNESCO is launching to fight the illicit traffic of cultural property which has increased to the point  that it’s comparable to the illicit traffic of guns and weapons. So we really need to act quickly and we have the means,  we have the legal instruments. UNESCO drafted a convention in 1970 to fight against illicit traffic of cultural property.”

Ms. Villegas says cultural property is a term which refers to the sum total of human expression.

“Cultural property is all the expression of human endeavour, human beliefs that is materialized by the people in all  different ways ; monuments, portraits paintings , books , cultural expressions. I would have to read out to you the definitions  of the different conventions but basically it is the creation of humanity. All of the expressions of our civilization of the way we live our beliefs.”

The sub-regional workshop is aimed at strengthening national, legal and operational capacities to fight this illegal activity. Over the three-day period areas such as mechanisms of control and  the role and legal aspects of the Customs Service  will be discussed.

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