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    Under the patronage of President El-Sisi… ICESCO to hold international virtual conference on the fight against illicit trafficking of cultural property

    16 July 2020

    Under the patronage of H.E. Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in the Arab Republic of Egypt, will hold, on 28 July 2020, an international virtual conference on the fight against illegal trafficking of cultural property. The Conference will bring together ministers in charge of heritage from all over the world, along with international experts in the fight against the theft and illegal trafficking of artifacts.

    The Egyptian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Khaled al-Anany, will represent President El-Sisi in the Conference and read out an address on his behalf at the opening session.

    On this occasion, Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, ICESCO Director-General, stated that the Organization is pleased with the Egyptian President’s patronage of the Conference, while noting that Egypt is one of the most affected countries on artifact theft throughout ages and that it has deployed considerable efforts to restitute its stolen artifacts. He also stated that many countries in the Islamic world suffer from attempts of the destruction or theft of their antiquities.

    In addition, Dr. AlMalik underlined that the Conference comes at a juncture marked by the upsurge in illegal trafficking of cultural property as this crime has soared in the past several years. In this vein, he explained that this criminal act does not only constitute an assault on the cultural aspect alone but also destroys peoples heritage, strips them of their treasures, weakens their capacities and sets back their sustainable development efforts and that relevant international instruments are inadequate to stop or eliminate this crime.

    The Conference will explore the following topics:

    1. Current situation in Illegal Trafficking of Cultural Property in the Islamic World providing statistics on the theft, trafficking and transport of artifacts, the experiences of some of ICESCO Member States in the fight against this crime and the new trafficking modus.
    2. Challenges to anti-trafficking in cultural property, namely the emergence of new markets and techniques such as e-commerce on social media and the complexity and insufficiency of international agreements and local legislations to address this phenomenon.
    3. Role of ICESCO in building the capacities of Member States in anti-trafficking of cultural property.

    The Conference will issue ICESCO Declaration on the Protection and the Fight against the Theft and Illegal Trafficking of Cultural Property.

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