Considering the gravity of the pillaging and looting of cultural property in the Central African region, conscious of the fact that the problem can only be resolved through a concerted collaborative effort at regional and international level, we, the participants in the workshop on the illicit traffic of cultural property held in Kinshasa, Zaire, 26-28 June 1996.
TO DECISION MAKERS
We ask you: - to give a prominent place to the development of museums in your policy and to provide museum professionals a status and satisfactory working conditions so that they can exercise their function of information, training and education in the field of heritage;
- to urgent launching of rescue archaeology programmes;
- to give to the professionals the resources for the preparation of inventories and the classification of sites;
- the urgent drafting and revision of national legislation on the basis of regional experts reports in charge of defining the cultural heritage.
We ask to the governments of the States which have not yet done so, to urgently ratify the 1970 UNESCO Convention against illicit traffic in cultural property, the UNIDROIT Convention 1995, as far as the very concerning situation of countries in situation of armed conflict, the Hague 1954 Convention.
The participants in the workshop recommend the constitution of a coordination committee of representatives of departments concerned (culture, research, education, police, customs, justice, foreign affairs, tourism, trade). These representatives will have to be selected for the professional expertise. This committee will have the mandate to define a policy and strategies for a better application of legislation on cultural heritage and to implement these strategies.
TO MUSEUM PROFESSIONALS
We recommend: - the holding of a meeting of cultural heritage professionals in order to define the cultural and national heritage to be protected taking into consideration the cultural context in the region.
- the participation in the AFRICOM project for standardization of inventories and documentation.
- the creation of a regional organization of ICOM in Central Africa (ICOMAC) which shall ensure the follow-up of actions proposed in this meeting.
The participants in the workshop commit themselves to undertake to organize within a year practical actions in the field such as information and training of customs and police officers and to report of these activities as the AFRICOM Coordinating Committee.
TO INTERPOL NCB AND CUSTOMS SERVICES
We request you:
- to utilize to full extent the possibilities of dissiminating information on stolen cultural objects through Interpol and World Customs Organisation (WCO).