Thailand joins neighbors to prevent theft of cultural artifacts

Thailand is joining with its neighbors along the Mekong River and UNESCO to fight the trafficking of cultural artifacts.

Representatives from Thailand attended a three-day meeting in Siem Reap, a town in neighboring Cambodia. They were among 140 national and international experts from government ministries, institutions, and organizations from five Mekong countries: Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Viet Nam.

During the regional workshop, they discussed how to implement recommendations from a plan developed by UNESCO and the Mekong countries titled: “Preventive Measures Against Destruction and Encroachment on Heritage Sites, and Against Theft, Looting, and Illicit Trafficking of Culturally Significant Properties.”

Supported by Mekong-Lancang Cooperation Special Fund 2020, the workshop is one of the follow-up actions of the first Cambodian National Consultation Workshop on “Challenges and Solutions related to Traffic, Excavation and Trafficking in Artifacts” back in November 2018.

Due to the prevailing sanitary situation and following the country’s standard operating procedures, the workshop was organized in a hybrid style, both physically and online.

Aimed at promoting cooperation among the countries in the region on the prevention of illicit import and export of cultural properties, Minister of Culture and Fine Arts of Cambodia stressed the importance of joint efforts for the protection of cultural heritage in the region which has functioned to share not only goods and people but also ideas, beliefs, knowledge and culture.

She also outlined that “Artifacts from all of our countries offer us clues to understand the complex historical and cultural processes that have given this region its unique place in the world”.

She further requested for a joint collaboration from all the participating countries by stating that “We now must work hand-in-hand for the respect of our ancestors to secure thought and practice that our heritage will be available for our children. Future generations have a right to understand, study and admire their heritage. Illicit trafficking, looting, import-export of cultural property is a threat to us all, and we have to fight it together”.

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