Workshop on the Trafficking of Antiquities

UNESCO and the Department of Antiquities of Libya co-organized a 3-day introductory workshop on ways to prevent and fight the illicit trade in cultural property. Taking place in Tripoli, 27 – 29 April, the workshop is aimed at the staff of various public institutions such as customs and police departments, as well as tourist associations.

In its work to prevent and fight against the illicit trafficking in cultural property, UNESCO seeks to involve civil society, reflecting the realization that efforts to stop such trafficking can only succeed if they are carried out at the national level with the commitment of civil society at large.

The workshop is held against a background of increasing damage to, or theft of, archaeological artifacts and works of art, such as the Benghazi treasure, and collections from Libyan museums, storerooms, archives and other cultural institutions. Data concerning the missing properties have been included in the relevant databases set by INTERPOL and Italy’s Carabinieri.

Some of the retrieved works of art from museums and archaeological sites, will be displayed in a temporary exhibition, on the occasion of the workshop which is held as part of a broader training programme funded by the Government of Italy. On 30 April 2013, the closing session of the workshop – introduced by the Minister of Culture of Libya, Dr Al Amin El Habib, the Ambassador of Italy to Libya, H.E. Giuseppe Buccino Grimaldi, the Chairperson of the Department of Antiquities of Libya, Dr Salah Agab, and the Representative of UNESCO in Libya, Dr Lodovico Folin Calabi – will determine a set of recommendations based on proposals made during the workshop.

Dr Khaled el Hadder, professor of archaeology at Benghazi University, will present a general overview of illicit trafficking in cultural property in Libya and Professor Serenella Ensoli, director of the Italian archaeological mission in Cyrene, will present the most recent developments in the search for the Benghazi Treasure. Professor Saas Bouhajar, from the University of Benghazi, will provide an overview of the Prehistoric archaeological sites in South-East of Libya, while Professor Savino Di Lernia, director of the Italian-Libyan archaeological mission in Acacus and Messak, will provide an overview of the main challenges to the protection of desert sites. INTERPOL, the World Customs Organization, the Carabinieri, the Tourism and Antiquities Police from Egypt, and UNIDROIT will also take part in the event.

(Source: UNSMIL)

(Picture: Leptis Magna)

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