Cyprus’s Ambassador, Koula Sophianou, points out one aspect of the great historical wealth of her country./ Photo: JDL
Juan David Latorre. 15/03/2017
The Cypriot Government, along with other countries, got UN Human Rights Council to approve a resolution last year that considered Cultural Right as part of Human Rights. Cyprus’s Ambassador to Spain, Koula Sophianou, emphasized this role that her country is playing while holding the Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.
“The protection of the cultural heritage is one of the priorities of our foreign policy, the ambassador points out. Our strategic objective is to contribute effectively and practically to this. Therefore, I would like to highlight the importance of the resolution adopted by UN Human Rights Council, which was approved by unanimity. It is the first time that the matter of the cultural heritage is an integral part of the Human Rights agenda”. The Council of Europe pointed out last year the need to strengthen the legal framework that considers the deliberate destruction of cultural heritage and the illegal traffic of objects and other cultural goods to be a crime.
The Cypriot Government suggests that any sale and commercialization of archaeological and cultural pieces from areas in conflict has to be well documented. This new agreement, which it wants to elaborate and finish during its Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, has to penalize the illegal destruction and the traffic of cultural goods.
Proof of Identity means sellers must prove that the object was not stolen
“We have to be aware of the fact, the ambassador continues, that this matter is interconnected with the money laundering and the financing of terrorist groups. Therefore, it is important to improve cooperation between the States hiring”.
Cyprus has suggested starting by the so-called Proof of Identity, which means that sellers must prove that the object was not stolen. “This is fundamental, the Cypriot representative points out. With the surveillance and the prohibition of selling without the Proof of Identity, we hope that this illegal traffic is reduced and that it even disappears”.
However, all this will have an economic cost. “Cyprus acts to the best of its ability, Ambassador Sophianou declares, and we have chosen the path of justice. If we have this agreement, the second step will be inviting all the countries to ratify it and implement it, because the latter, the implementation, is the most important. Cyprus does not have the budget or the power of a big country in the political scene, but here I think we can do something very big in defence of Humanity and its historical and cultural heritage”.