Customs Training Sessions Held to Counter the Trafficking of Cultural Property in Syria and Lebanon

As the violence in Syria continues, many culturally and historically significant artifacts are either being destroyed or sold on the black market, often for profit by militant groups. To help address this issue the World Customs Organization (WCO), working with UNESCO, INTERPOL, and a number of other cultural and law enforcement institutions based in the region and out of Europe held training sessions in Beirut for Customs Officers and other stakeholders from November 30th-December 4th.

The training covered various aspects of stakeholder engagement, international legal framework and preventive measures to facilitate return and restitution of cultural objects, using a number of case studies. One of the outcomes of the training was the call for the ratification by Lebanon of the Second Protocol to the Hague Convention of 1954 for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1999) and the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects, endorsement of the further work in this area both on the national and regional level as well as the necessity to keep all relevant stakeholders engaged in the ongoing dialogue.

More can be read through the WCO.

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