chapter  12
10 Pages

Cultural heritage compliance

WithJeffrey Taylor

The process of de-colonialization, first politically and subsequently culturally, would lead to land-mark treaties in the 1970s that continue to shape the Cultural Heritage compliance landscape today. The most important treaty from the perspective of Cultural Heritage compliance would be the land-mark United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. The primary enforcement of cultural heritage compliance occurs when objects cross borders, and most of the bad actors usually get caught during the process of attempting to transport illicit goods internationally. In addition to UNESCO, Interpol, the international police organization, connects national law-enforcement bodies when one is requesting action in another nation's jurisdiction. The most high-profile activity in this sector would be the restitution of artworks owned by Jewish collectors prior to the Nazi-era, and whose heirs had begun demanding the return of these works in the late 1990s.