UNIDROIT is an independent international organization with the mission of studying needs and methods for modernizing, harmonizing and coordinating private law, in particular commercial law, and formulating uniform law instruments, principles and rules to achieve such objectives.

In the area of combating illicit trafficking of cultural goods, UNIDROIT and UNESCO work closely in the implementation and practical application of the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on the International Return of Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects. This Convention was conceived as a complementary instrument to the UNESCO Convention of 1970 in order to ensure the restitution and return of cultural objects between the contracting parties.

UNESCO and UNIDROIT have also produced model legislative provisions intended (1) to assist domestic legislative bodies in the establishment of a legislative framework for heritage protection, and (2) to adopt effective legislation for the establishment and recognition of the State’s ownership of undiscovered cultural objects with a view, inter alia, to facilitating restitution in case of unlawful removal.

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