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UN General Assembly Resolution on the return or restitution of cultural property to the countries of origin

Friday, 21 December 2018

On December 13th, the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted, on Greek initiative, a Resolution on «The return or restitution of cultural property to the countries of origin». The said Resolution, that also encompasses the return of the Parthenon marbles, was widely endorsed by all regional groups of member states, 105 of which jointly introduced the draft Resolution.

In particular, the Resolution underlines the responsibility of States to combat illicit trafficking of cultural property during peace and war time, in light also of recent conflict in the Middle East that led to the destruction, looting, theft as well as illicit trafficking of cultural property, notably through the internet. The Resolution condemns the aforementioned illegal actions and notes the connection between trafficking of cultural property and financing of terrorism; it calls upon States to safeguard cultural property, by not only taking appropriate protection measures but also returning stolen or illicitly traded cultural property to the countries of origin.

That was an important initiative of Greece that also led the relevant negotiations. The Resolution has been consistently adopted by the General Assembly every three years, our country having systematically introduced the draft Resolution for voting to address the need to safeguard world cultural heritage.

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