New Red List of Cultural Objects at Risk in Central America and Mexico

A ICOM most wanted list of stolen art objects presented in Mexico City

Published on 8 June 2010

Author(s): ICOM

Type:  News

The Red List was conceived as an instrument to help museums, art merchants, collectors, customs officers and police organizations to identify objects that might have been exported illegally or are susceptible of being trafficked.

Given the patrimonial richness of Mexico and Central American nations, on Tuesday June 8th 2010 the International Council of Museums (ICOM) will announce the Red List of Cultural Objects at Risk in Central America and Mexico, elaborated by a group of experts from Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.

The aim of the document to be presented at 10:30 in the Jaime Torres Bodet Auditorium, at the National Museum of Anthropology (MNA) [Mexico City] is to fight looting and destruction of archaeological sites and theft from temples and museums, as well as to prevent illegal traffic, contributing with customs and judicial authorities to protect national cultural goods.

The Red List was conceived as an instrument to help museums, art merchants, collectors, customs officers and police organizations to identify objects that might have been exported illegally or are susceptible of being trafficked.

Specialist Lilia Rivero Weber mentioned that as part of the tasks that look anticipate safegarding historical memory, the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) developed the program of Prevention of Theft, Looting and Illicit Traffic of Cultural Goods, which includes curses for staff at the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) to allow better understanding of the problematic through training.

Five courses have taken place in 2010: In Estado de Mexico; Mexico City; Monterrey, Nuevo Leon; Merida, Yucatan, and Hermosillo, Sonora. Another is to take place soon in Guadalajara, Jalisco. Between 60 and 100 persons have participated in the courses, including staff from Regional INAH Centers.

Rivero, national coordinator of INAH Cultural Heritage Conservation, pointed out that prevention of illicit traffic of cultural goods requires inter institutional cooperation, and workshops are important to allow decisive and coordinated participation of authorities.

Themes of the course are Legal frame on conservation and safeguard of cultural heritage; Identification of cultural goods; Types of felonies; Correct presentation of evidence, elements of the criminal investigation and creation of reports on cases related to cultural goods, as well as explanation of the significance and historical value of cultural objects.

“Generally, when a suspect is arrested, procedures are not correctly followed; the course helps identifying the pieces, conduct the investigation and refer it to the correct PGR area”.

Courses were imparted when a dependency asked for them; now they are part of a social significance program conducted by INAH for communities and people responsible of religious temples, she mentioned.

Finally, she declared that a program to raise awareness in communities has been developed too, with the aim of getting inhabitants in touch with cultural heritage and generating protection strategies.
 

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