RESOLUTION ON

PROTECTION OF CULTURAL PROPERTY IN THE OSCE AREA

    1. Reaffirming that all activities related to cultural property should be in full conformity with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, in particular the principles of sovereign equality and territorial integrity of States,
    2. Recalling the principles on the protection of cultural heritage in the event of armed conflict established in the 1899 and 1907 Hague Conventions and, in particular, Articles 27 and 56 of the Regulations of the 1907 Fourth Hague Convention as well as other relevant international instruments,
    3. Reiterating the UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its protocols,
    4. Reaffirming that one of the fundamental principles of the Preamble of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict provides that damage to cultural property belonging to any people whatsoever means damage to the cultural heritage of all mankind, since each people makes its contribution to the culture of the world,
    5. Reiterating the relevant provision on protection of cultural property of the Helsinki Final Act of 1975, which encourages the participating States to implement joint projects for conserving, restoring and showing to their advantage works of art, historical and archaeological monuments and sites of cultural interest,
    6. Emphasizing the Kyiv Ministerial Council Decision 3/13 on Freedom of Thought, Conscience, Religion or Belief which calls on participating States to adopt policies to promote respect for and protection of places of worship and religious sites, religious monuments, cemeteries and shrines against vandalism and destruction,
    7. Recalling paragraph 12 of the Document of the Cracow Symposium on the Cultural Heritage of the CSCE Participating States of 1991, which states, "The complete and lasting documentation of sites, structures, cultural landscapes, objects and cultural systems, including historical, religious and cultural monuments ... is one of the most important legacies to the cultural heritage that can be provided for future generations",
    8. Reiterating paragraph 31 of the Cracow Document which emphasizes, "The participating States will strive to preserve and protect those monuments and sites of remembrance, including most notably extermination camps, and the related archives, which are themselves testimonials to tragic experiences in their common past",
    9. Mindful that cultural heritage is an important component of the cultural identity of communities, groups and individuals and of social cohesion, and its intentional destruction may therefore have adverse consequences for human dignity and human rights,
    10. Expressing serious concern at the systematic destruction and pillaging of cultural and religious monuments and artefacts, often used as a tool to serve geopolitical goals in conflict situations and in areas inaccessible to their lawful inhabitants, and condemning those who purposefully commit such acts against the cultural heritage of other nations,

The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly:

    1. Emphasizes the importance of preserving the status of monuments and sites related to history and culture, wherever they are located, which constitutes an integral part of the overall efforts within the CSCE for the preservation and protection of the common cultural heritage (paragraph 31 of 1991 Cracow Document);
    2. Acknowledges that the illicit import, export and transfer of ownership of cultural property is one of the main causes of the impoverishment of the cultural heritage of the countries of origin of such property and that international co-operation constitutes one of the most efficient means of protecting each country's cultural property against all the dangers resulting therefrom;
    3. Stresses the importance of addressing trafficking of cultural property and commends the considerable progress achieved within other relevant international organizations, such as UNODC;
    4. Stresses the need for greater efforts to be made in the OSCE area to adopt appropriate domestic legislation and agree on common standards, in line with relevant international instruments, that will encourage and facilitate the prompt return of artistic, historical and cultural national treasures to the State owner, and encourages participating States to work in synergy and with other competent international partners in this direction;
    5. Reiterates that when involved in an armed conflict, be it of an international or non international character, including cases of occupation, States should take all appropriate measures to conduct their activities in such a manner as to protect cultural heritage, in conformity with customary international law and the principles and objectives of international agreements and UNESCO recommendations concerning the protection of such heritage during hostilities;
    6. Recognizes that the intentional destruction of cultural heritage may be tantamount to advocating and inciting national, racial or religious hatred and thereby violates the fundamental principles of international human rights law;
    7. Emphasizes that a participating State that intentionally destroys or intentionally fails to take appropriate measures to prohibit, prevent, stop, and punish any intentional destruction of cultural heritage of great importance, whether or not it is inscribed on a list maintained by UNESCO or another international organization, bears the responsibility for such destruction, to the extent provided for by international law;
    8. Requests the participating States to take all appropriate measures, in accordance with international law, including the Second Protocol to the Hague Convention of 1954 for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, to provide effective criminal sanctions against perpetrators and inciters, as well as administrative sanctions against cultural institutions, professional collectors and web-based auctioneers, involved in acts against cultural property of great importance, whether or not it is inscribed on a list maintained by UNESCO or other international organizations;
    9. Invites participating States to introduce in their national legislation provisions prohibiting illicit economic, commercial, research as well as other activities in cultural sites and to encourage public-private partnership aimed at the preservation of cultural property;
    10. Encourages the participating States to exchange information on their national policies regarding the preservation and protection of, and measures in addressing illicit acts against, cultural property;
    11. Calls upon participating States to provide access to their territories by the international fact-finding missions aimed at verifying the possible destruction of cultural heritage;
    12. Requests the OSCE participating States to establish an OSCE mechanism to prohibit and prevent within conflict zones any illicit export, other removal or transfer of ownership of cultural property, or archaeological excavation, any alteration to, or change of use of, cultural property which is intended to conceal or destroy cultural, historical or scientific evidence, any form of theft, pillage or misappropriation of, and any acts of vandalism directed against cultural property.