WSi News2017-11-10 15:53:26

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Combating illicit cross-border trafficking of cultural property in Mediterranean region in focus at workshop organized by OSCE, Italy’s Carabinieri 
Practical measures to combat the illicit cross-border trafficking in cultural property in the Mediterranean Region was the focus of a five-day seminar, which concluded in Vicenza today. The seminar was designed to build the capacity of some 22 participants from national services of thirteen OSCE participating States and Mediterranean Partners for Co-operation, and of Lebanon.
The workshop was organized by the Border Security and Management Unit of the OSCE Transnational Threats Department, with the support of Italy, as the 2017 Chair of the OSCE Contact Group with the Mediterranean Partners for Co-operation, and in co-operation with the Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units (CoESPU) of Italy’s Carabineri service.
“Profits received from smuggling of cultural property are also used to fund terrorist activities. Strengthening of international co-operation in combating illicit cross-border trafficking in cultural property is critical”, said Rasa Ostrauskaite, Head of the OSCE Transnational Threats Department.
Over the course of the workshop, experts from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), INTERPOL, the Carabinieri Command for protection of cultural heritage, CoESPU and the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) highlighted the international legal framework and best practices in criminal justice responses to trafficking in cultural property. They focused on combating the trafficking of counterfeited works of arts, the role of customs and monopolies agencies, available IT systems and databases in addressing illicit trafficking, international co-operation, the monitoring and protection of archaeological sites, control measures and technologies used in museums, best intelligence and preventive practices, and the return of forfeited cultural property.
Brigadier General Giovanni Pietro Barbano, CoESPU Director, said: “The event provided a much-needed platform for practitioners from different countries and the international community to liaise and discuss new and innovative ways to successfully respond to the phenomena, based on the principles of trust and professional co-operation that are the core values of both OSCE and CoESPU.”
The project under which the workshop took place will continue in 2018 and 2019, with a series of three additional regional events for Central Asia, South-Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus and the Asian Partners for Co-operation.

Photo: Participants of the workshop are discussing the best practices on protection of artifacts and museum facilities at Olympic Theatre, Vicenza, 9 November 2017. (OSCE/Gorancho Stojkovsk

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