For nearly 25 years, since the emergency action to protect Cambodia’s cultural property from looting in 1999, the United States has worked with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to protect and restore their cultural property. Through this partnership, the United States has returned more than 100 items to Cambodia since 2003, and this year has returned additional stolen and stolen cultural items to Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.
From September 4-8, 2022, the ECA Center for Antiquities (CHC) participated in the international conference organized by the Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the non-profit Antiquities Association of America: “Preventing Illicit Trade in in Traditional Culture—Edited. The ASEAN Perspective.” The conference took place in Siem Reap, Cambodia, and brought together 200 key participants – including officials from ASEAN member states and representatives from international organizations and non-governmental organizations – to discuss the issues is happening with the best practices to protect the cultural property.
Speaking at the international conference of the conference, CHC director Eric Catalfamo emphasized the urgent need for international cooperation to protect cultural heritage that is under threat from political and economic conflicts and climate change: ” This work is especially urgent in times of crisis, such as the ones we are experiencing. today, with the economic collapse from the covid-19 disease that has led to an increase in the trafficking of cultural assets and cultural heritage under the threat of political violence in places like Afghanistan and directly in the war with Russia She did it in Ukraine.”
Catalfamo detailed the benefits of entering into a bilateral cultural property agreement with the United States, which allows for restrictions on US imports to prevent stolen items from entering the United States. The Cultural Property Convention prevents criminals from profiting from the sale of trafficked cultural property, facilitates the return of looted and stolen items from the United States to their countries of origin, and provides programs to improve international cooperation.
In his opening remarks, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Prak Sokhonn described the role of the United States and Cambodia in returning historical treasures to Cambodia, including Skanda on Peacock—a 10th-century sand statue of a war god. Hindu Skanda who is considered as a great artist. an important part of Cambodian culture. Minister Sokhonn said, “We want to thank our international partners, especially the United States, for helping to recover these stolen artifacts, stop the smuggling, and return the cultural treasures to Cambodia. .”
Regarding the Bi-American Customs Agreement
The United States uses cultural property agreements with 25 countries to promote American trade in clean technology and to help other countries protect their cultural heritage. The treaty created import restrictions that stopped stolen cultural property from entering the United States while encouraging the legal exchange of cultural property for scientific, cultural, and educational purposes so that the American people, the homes history, and researchers have the opportunity to expand the opportunity to appreciate the history of partner countries culture.