Kenya’s quest to safeguard and preserve her cultural identity received a boost Tuesday after parliament approved the ratification of the 1970 UNESCO Convection on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.
The latest development marked a historic step for Kenya towards authority to push for the returning of artefacts taken from the country over the years.
“Fifty-three (53) years later, today, Kenya makes a historic and remarkable step towards the realization of the much delayed Reparative Justice.” Celebrated Ummi Bashir, the Principal Secretary for Culture, the Arts and Heritage shortly after the national assembly endorsed the report by the Departmental Committee on Sports & Culture.
Saying that previous attempts to have the artifacts returned had proved problematic, with friendly nations obliging based on diplomatic relations, Ummi said Kenya will now have a seat on the table at UNESCO to address previous injustices once the process is complete.
“For 53 years, we have never ratified that convention on illicit import and export of artifacts while many countries have already done so. Reparation of artefacts will now happen. “ Ummi noted.
Following the approval and ratification of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property by The National Assembly, Ummi says the House will now convey its resolutions to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who will then draft the ratification documents and deposit them with the Director General of UNESCO.
The convention urges States Parties to take measures to prohibit and prevent the illicit trafficking of cultural property including taking necessary measures to protect their cultural property against illicit import, export and transfer of ownership and to prohibit the exportation of cultural property from their territory unless accompanied by an export certificate.
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