Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property

General Detail

General Information

  1. Type: Convention
  2. Date of signature:
  3. Place of signature: Paris, France
  4. Depositary:
  5. Date of entry into force: 24/04/1972

Category

Good Governance

Sub category

Cultural Property

Groups

OPENESS TO MTRSUNESCO

What is it about?

The 1970 UNESCO Convention quickly came into force and in 2003 had been ratified by more than 90 States. Despite its popularity, however, is has often been criticized for offering few tools to stop the trade in stolen and looted art. Under this Convention, State Parties recognize that the illicit import, export and transfer of ownership of cultural property is one of the main causes of the impoverishment of the cultural heritage of the countries of origin of such property and that international co-operation constitutes one of the most efficient means of protecting each country's cultural property. In order to limit such trade, State parties agree to provide for measures ensuring that exported goods can be traced and agree to improve controls to prevent the import of goods using fraudulent methods. It has been criticised that member State are able to keep their own national laws regarding the protection of cultural property, that the text utilizes broad and unspecific language, and that no specific enforcement mechanisms are provided. As most of the member States are “source” countries, the effectiveness of the present Convention is further limited. Another criticism stems from the fact that the UNESCO Convention only provides protection for art stolen from an inventory and public collection. Private collections and indigenous art are not usually covered.

Why is it relevant?

This Convention was the first international instrument related to the protection of cultural property. As it did not have the entire impact desired, UNESCO requested that the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT) draft a new treaty detailing minimum standards that could be commonly accepted (UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Property, Rome 24 June 1995).

Additional Information

State parties are required to offer periodic reports to the UNESCO General Conference indicating measures that they have adopted to implement this Convention.

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Country ratifications
CountryRatification date
Afghanistan08/09/2005
Albania13/09/2002
Algeria24/06/1974
Angola07/11/1991
Argentina11/01/1973
Armenia05/09/1993
Australia30/10/1989
Austria15/07/2015
Azerbaijan25/08/1999
Bahamas09/10/1997
Bahrain07/03/2014
Bangladesh09/12/1987
Barbados10/07/2002
Belarus28/04/1988
Belgium31/03/2009
Belize26/01/1990
Bhutan26/09/2002
Bolivia (Plurinational State of)04/10/1976
Bosnia and Herzegovina12/07/1993
Brazil16/02/1973
Bulgaria15/09/1971
Burkina Faso07/04/1987
Cambodia26/09/1972
Cameroon24/05/1972
Canada28/03/1978
Central African Republic01/02/1972
Chad17/06/2008
Chile18/04/2014
China28/02/1990
Colombia24/05/1988
Costa Rica06/03/1996
Cote d'Ivoire30/10/1990
Croatia06/07/1992
Cuba30/01/1980
Cyprus19/10/1979
Czech Republic26/03/1993
Democratic People's Republic of Korea13/05/1983
Democratic Republic of the Congo23/09/1974
Denmark26/03/2003
Dominican Republic07/03/1973
Ecuador24/03/1971
Egypt05/04/1973
El Salvador20/02/1978
Equatorial Guinea17/06/2010
Estonia27/10/1995
Finland14/06/1999
France07/01/1997
Gabon29/08/2003
Georgia04/11/1992
Germany30/11/2007
Ghana20/01/2016
Greece05/06/1981
Grenada10/09/1992
Guatemala14/01/1985
Guinea18/03/1979
Haiti08/02/2010
Honduras19/03/1979
Hungary23/10/1978
Iceland09/11/2004
India24/01/1977
Iran27/01/1975
Iraq12/02/1973
Italy02/10/1978
Japan09/09/2002
Jordan15/03/1974
Kazakhstan09/02/2012
Kuwait22/06/1972
Kyrgyzstan03/07/1995
Lao People's Democratic Republic22/12/2015
Lebanon25/08/1992
Lesotho17/07/2013
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya09/01/1973
Lithuania27/07/1998
Luxembourg03/02/2015
Macedonia (The former Yugoslav Republic of)30/04/1997
Madagascar21/06/1989
Mali06/04/1987
Mauritania27/04/1977
Mauritius27/02/1978
Mexico04/10/1972
Moldova14/09/2007
Mongolia23/05/1991
Montenegro26/04/2007
Morocco03/02/2003
Myanmar05/09/2013
Nepal23/06/1976
Netherlands17/07/2009
New Zealand01/02/2007
Nicaragua19/04/1977
Niger16/10/1972
Nigeria24/01/1972
Norway16/02/2007
Oman02/06/1978
Pakistan30/04/1981
Panama13/08/1973
Paraguay09/11/2004
Peru24/10/1979
Poland31/01/1974
Portugal09/12/1985
Qatar20/04/1977
Republic of Korea14/02/1983
Romania06/12/1993
Russian Federation28/04/1988
Rwanda25/12/2001
Saudi Arabia08/09/1976
Senegal09/12/1984
Serbia03/10/1972
Seychelles28/05/2004
Slovakia31/03/1993
Slovenia05/11/1992
South Africa18/12/2003
Spain10/01/1986
Sri Lanka07/04/1981
Swaziland30/10/2012
Sweden13/01/2003
Switzerland03/10/2003
Syrian Arab Republic21/02/1975
Tajikistan28/08/1992
Tunisia10/03/1975
Turkey21/04/1981
Ukraine28/04/1988
United Kingdom01/08/2002
United Republic of Tanzania02/08/1977
United States of America02/09/1983
Uruguay09/08/1977
Uzbekistan15/03/1996
Venezuela21/03/2005
Viet Nam20/09/2005
Zambia21/06/1985
Zimbabwe30/05/2006
Treaties analysis
YearRatifications
19712
19728
19737
19744
19753
19763
19776
19786
19794
19801
19814
19833
19841
19853
19861
19873
19884
19892
19905
19912
19926
19935
19952
19962
19973
19981
19992
20011
20025
20037
20043
20053
20061
20075
20081
20092
20102
20122
20132
20142
20153
20161
Total133
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