UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Property
Safeguard of Cultural Property in Conflict Zones
The traffic and destruction of cultural property and heritage is a commonly overlooked side effect of armed conflicts and wars. Despite the existence of treaties that highlight the importance of safeguarding cultural property, in times of conflict, these regulations are ignored. Part of the reasons why this is a reality is that the members and signatories of the aforementioned agreements are States, which leaves non-state actors free from the responsibility of protecting cultural property while in conflict. Furthermore, the lack of legal responsibilities for non-state actors derives in lack of accountability and few prosecutions of the crime. Additionally, International Organizations such as the United Nations Security Council and the International Criminal Court face organizational and procedural limitations when deciding to take action regarding stolen or damaged cultural property. It is, therefore, under the mandate of UNESCO to strengthen the limitations and promote the protection of important pieces of humanity.