Myanmar spearheads initiative to curb antiquities smuggling

The Myanmarese government intends to spearhead a memorandum of understanding between the 10 ASEAN countries to crack down on the illegal trade of antiquities. I’m sure most of the ASEAN countries would agree, but it would be interesting to see the response from Thailand and Singapore, seeing how they are not signatories to the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.

ASEAN to crack down on antique smuggling
Myanmar Times, 06 October 2008

MYANMAR is inviting other ASEAN members to come together to protect the region’s cultural heritage – by cracking down on the illegal trade and smuggling of antiques.

Myanmar is hosting a meeting of legal experts from ASEAN member countries at Bagan from November 9 to 14 to zero in on the problem, said U San Win, the director general of the Department of Archaeology at the National Museum and Library.

“We will collaborate with ASEAN countries to ban illegal trading. If our antiques make their way to their countries through illegal channels they will return them to us, and when we find their antiques we will give them back,” he said.

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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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