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Arusha Appeal

Workshop on the illicit Traffic of Cultural Property

Arusha 28 - 29 Sept. 1993

The participants in the workshop on the fight against illicit traffic held on September 1993 in Arusha have reviewed the concerning situation of the African heritage.

The museum artefacts are stolen and illicitly exported.
The archaeological sites are illegally excavated.
The national heritage from the local communities has been stolen/or sold to unscrupulous traffickers.

The consequences are immense and will have adverse effects on the future of African nations by depriving them of the knowledge of their past, by removing from the communities the symbols of their identity.

To face this situation, the heritage professionals have drafted a priority policy aimed at fighting against this tragedy. The main lines of action are:

Systematic setting of inventories of heritage in and out of museums, emphasizing the need of visual documentation.
Harmonizing national legislations and ratifying the international conventions and in particular the UNESCO conventions of 1970 against the illicit traffic.
Reinforcing the collaboration with police and customs service.
Drafting national research, education and information policies aimed at making the populations, the decision makers and the general public aware of the value and importance of cultural heritage.

The African professionals are aware that these measures cannot be fully put into practice without the cooperation of professionals from other parts of the world.

This is the reason why they urge the support of the international professional heritage community and other related institutions and call upon them to eradicate plundering and illicit trafficking of African heritage.

They express also the wish that an International fund be urgently created to finance the acquisition of stolen property and its restitution to museums and communities when the national or international legislations do not provide for this.

This appeal was adopted by the assembly in Arusha on September 29, 1993.


Updated: 11 July 2005