Cultural heritage in all its forms constitutes a unique and
important testimony of the history and identity of different peoples
and is a common asset that should be preserved in all circumstances.
The report welcomes the new Council of Europe Convention on Offences
relating to Cultural Property, adopted in Nicosia in May 2017, and
calls on the member States to sign and ratify it as well as to sign
and ratify, if not yet done, the UNESCO Convention for the Protection
of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1954) and its Protocols
(1999), the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing
the Illicit Import, Export and Sale of Cultural Property (1970)
and the UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects
(1995), which all form a complementary legal framework together
with the Council of Europe Convention.
The report also makes a number of practical recommendations,
including setting up a central national authority, and engaging
in international co-operation between source, transit and final
destination countries, enabling the exchange of information, the
harmonisation of laws and the standardisation of procedures and
expectations of due diligence at all links in the marketing chain.
Furthermore, it calls for co-operation between the Council of Europe,
UNESCO and UNIDROIT with a view to codifying the international requirement
of due diligence for auction houses, dealers and individual purchasers,
creating incentives for internet marketing platforms to regulate
internet transactions and developing strategies required for the
protection of threatened heritage in archaeologically sensitive
potential combat zones.