Indonesia still undecided on ratifying underwater heritage convention

After last month’s furore over the attempted sale of the Cirebon shipwreck haul, Indonesia still has an undecided stance towards ratifying the UNESCO convention on underwater cultural heritage. Even more surprising is that Cambodia is the only country in Asia that has ratified the convention!

RI undecided on underwater heritage convention
Jakarta Post, 03 June 2010

Despite being rich in sunken treasure, Indonesia is undecided whether to ratify a world convention that protects underwater cultural heritage, a senior official said Wednesday at a workshop for officials and academics in Jakarta.

“Indonesia still needs to carefully weigh up the benefits and consequences of ratifying [the convention],” Hari Untoro Drajat, the Culture and Tourism Ministry’s director general for history and archaeology said.

He said ratifying the UNESCO convention on protection of the underwater cultural heritage needed careful preparation, including adequate legislation, human resources, infrastructure and funding.

The convention was adopted by UNESCO in 2001, and has been ratified by 31 countries as of May this year. Cambodia is the only signatory in Asia.


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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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