UNESCO adopts Egypt’s initiative for combating cultural property trafficking

Ahram Online , Sunday 27 Oct 2019

File Photo: UNESCO adopts Egypt’s initiative for combating cultural artifacts trafficking (Photo: Reuters)

The UNESCO executive board adopted during its 207 session an Egyptian initiative for reinforcing a 1970 accord on measures used for banning illegally importing and exporting archaeological and cultural property for sale in auction houses.

The move comes as part of efforts exerted by the Egyptian foreign and antiquities ministries to recover looted artefacts and activate the international body's role in combating such practices, Egypt’s ambassador to France and its permanent representative to UNESCO Ihab Badawi said.

The initiative’s importance stems from the fact that it has been the first decision by UNESCO directly highlighting practices by auction houses which contravene with the 1970 accord, Badawi said.

UNESCO said it regrets the continuous selling of archaeological artifacts by auction houses without showing valid documents revealing the source of such objects, he added. 

Egypt has been pushing with efforts to stop the selling of its smuggled artefacts abroad. 

In July, Egypt condemned UK-based Christie's auction house for going ahead with the sale of a head of King Tutankhamun in London despite an outcry from the Egyptian authorities.

It said the auction, despite all the procedures taken by the Egyptian authorities, violates all international conventions, treaties, and agreements due to the lack of ownership documents from the auction house.

The brown quartzite head of young King has already been sold for more than £4.7 million. 

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