United Nations

A/RES/48/15


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

2 November 1993

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH



                                                 A/RES/48/15
                                                 47th plenary meeting
                                                 2 November 1993
 
             Return or restitution of cultural property
                     to the countries of origin
 
      The General Assembly,
 
      Recalling its resolutions 3026 A (XXVII) of 18 December 1972, 3148
(XXVIII) of 14 December 1973, 3187 (XXVIII) of 18 December 1973, 3391 (XXX) of
19 November 1975, 31/40 of 30 November 1976, 32/18 of 11 November 1977, 33/50
of 14 December 1978, 34/64 of 29 November 1979, 35/127 and 35/128 of 11
December 1980, 36/64 of 27 November 1981, 38/34 of 25 November 1983, 40/19 of
21 November 1985, 42/7 of 22 October 1987, 44/18 of 6 November 1989 and 46/10
of 22 October 1991,
 
      Recalling also the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing
the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property
adopted on 14 November 1970 by the General Conference of the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization,
 
      Taking note with satisfaction of the report of the Secretary-General
submitted in cooperation with the Director-General of the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization,
 
      Noting with satisfaction that, following its appeal, other Member States
have become parties to the Convention,
 
      Aware of the importance attached by the countries of origin to the
return of cultural property which is of fundamental spiritual and cultural
value to them, so that they may constitute collections representative of their
cultural heritage,
 
      Reaffirming the importance of inventories as an essential tool for the
understanding and protection of cultural property and for the identification
of dispersed heritage and as a contribution to the advancement of scientific
and artistic knowledge and intercultural communication,
 
      Deeply concerned at the clandestine excavations and the illicit traffic
in cultural property that continue to impoverish the cultural heritage of all
peoples, 
 
      Again supporting the solemn appeal made on 7 June 1978 by the
Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization for the return of irreplaceable cultural heritage to those who
created it,
 
      1.    Commends the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization and the Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of
Cultural Property to Its Countries of Origin or Its Restitution in Case of
Illicit Appropriation on the work they have accomplished, in particular
through the promotion of bilateral negotiations, for the return or restitution
of cultural property, the preparation of inventories of movable cultural
property, the reduction of illicit traffic in cultural property and the
dissemination of information to the public;
 
      2.    Reaffirms that the restitution to a country of its objets d'art,
monuments, museum pieces, archives, manuscripts, documents and any other
cultural or artistic treasures contributes to the strengthening of
international cooperation and to the preservation and flowering of universal
cultural values through fruitful cooperation between developed and developing
countries;
 
      3.    Recommends that Member States adopt or strengthen the necessary
protective legislation with regard to their own heritage and that of other
peoples; 
 
      4.    Requests Member States to study the possibility of including in
permits for excavations a clause requiring archaeologists and palaeontologists
to provide the national authorities with photographic documentation of each
object brought to light during the excavations immediately after its
discovery;
 
      5.    Invites Member States to continue drawing up, in cooperation with
the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization,
systematic inventories of cultural property existing in their territory and of
their cultural property abroad;
 
      6.    Also recommends that Member States should ensure that inventories
of museum collections include not only the items on display but also those in
storage, and that they comprise all necessary documentation, particularly
photographs of each item;
 
      7.    Also invites Member States engaged in seeking the recovery of
cultural and artistic treasures from the seabed, in accordance with
international law, to facilitate by mutually acceptable conditions the
participation of States having a historical and cultural link with those
treasures;
 
      8.    Appeals to Member States to cooperate closely with the
Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to
Its Countries of Origin or Its Restitution in Case of Illicit Appropriation
and to conclude bilateral agreements for this purpose;
 
      9.    Also appeals to Member States to encourage the mass information
media and educational and cultural institutions to strive to arouse a greater
and more general awareness with regard to the return or restitution of
cultural property to its countries of origin;
 
      10.   Requests States parties to the Convention on the Means of
Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of
Ownership of Cultural Property to keep the Secretary-General of the United
Nations and the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific
and Cultural Organization fully informed of the measures taken to ensure
implementation of the Convention at the national level;
 
      11.   Requests the Secretary-General, in collaboration with the United
Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, to continue to
develop all possibilities for bringing about the attainment of the
above-mentioned objectives;
 
      12.   Welcomes the steady increase in the number of States parties to
the Convention;
 
      13.   Invites once again those Member States that have not yet done so
to sign and ratify the Convention;
 
      14.   Requests the Secretary-General of the United Nations, in
cooperation with the Director-General of the United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization, to submit to the General Assembly at its
fiftieth session a report on the implementation of the present resolution;
 
      15.   Decides to include in the provisional agenda of its fiftieth
session the item entitled 'Return or restitution of cultural property to the
countries of origin'.