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03 May 2018

Protecting cultural heritage across the Americas

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Over the past decade, law enforcement agencies worldwide have seen a marked increase in the illicit trafficking of cultural objects.

With this in mind, some 100 international experts from 11 countries across the Americas have gathered to devise a common strategy against the organized crime groups which are constantly looking to increase profits from this lucrative trade.

The three-day (17 – 19 April) Americas Conference on Illicit Trafficking in Stolen Cultural Property, organized by INTERPOL in close collaboration with Argentina’s Federal Police and Ministry of Security, aimed to boost the exchange of information and best practice in the region.

Opening the conference, Néstor Roncaglia, Head of the Argentine Federal Police pledged his personal support to countries in the region: “The Argentinian Federal Police, under my command, is fully committed to fighting the illicit trafficking of cultural goods.”

The event also highlighted the need for increased cooperation between law enforcement agencies and international organizations and featured presentations from UNESCO, ICOM and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Monitoring Team linked to resolutions concerning ISIL, Al-Qaida and the Taliban.

During the meeting, particular focus was given to follow-up actions relating to UNSC Resolutions 2199/2015 and 2347/2017, which call for countries to take appropriate steps to prevent the trade in stolen cultural property, and specifically the use of INTERPOL’s policing capabilities, such as the Stolen Works of Art database.

The agenda also included:

  • Improving ‘first aid’ to protect cultural property in the event of natural disasters;
  • Best practices on investigating online markets;
  • Illicit excavations in archaeological and paleontological sites.

Closing the conference, Patricia Bullrich, Argentina’s Minister of Security pushed participants to boost cross-border collaboration, stating: “If criminals are to be organized, we will organize ourselves in a better and stronger way.”

The conference was held under the auspices of the INTERPOL Foundation for a Safer World. The Foundation is a rallying point for likeminded organizations and persons to unite with INTERPOL and the global law enforcement community in a joint response to today’s challenges.

Participating countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Jamaica, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, United States.

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