A plan for curbing the deliberate destruction or illegal trafficking of cultural heritage

PACE’s Culture Committee has spelled out a series of steps member States can take to stop the illegal trafficking or – worse – the deliberate destruction of cultural heritage objects, including in architecturally sensitive combat zones.

Approving a report by Stefan Schennach (Austria, SOC), the committee recommends ways that the different parties involved – dealers, online exchanges, auction houses, purchasers – can be encouraged to carry out “due diligence” on the origins of such precious items, and ensure they are being transported and sold legally.

States should create a central national authority dealing with this issue, in order to share information, harmonise laws and standardise procedures, the committee said. They should also sign up to the new Council of Europe convention covering this issue, as well as complementary UNESCO and UNIDROIT conventions.