Authorities look to create police unit for cultural heritage

Peru’s Interior and Culture ministries are discussing a proposal to create a special police unit in charge of taking care of cultural heritage, state news agency Andina reported.

“It is a topic that we’ve been discussing for a while to see about the possibility of creating a specialized unit, possibly within the Tourism Police, to be able to safeguard the cultural heritage,” Culture Minister Juan Ossio said.

Ossio said the unit could be modeled on similar initiatives in Europe. “It would have to be a police [unit] like in Spain or Italy, so they can use their intelligence systems, in order to identify the traffickers of our cultural goods because we know there are groups that specialize in that,” he said.

“We have people working on this and we are sure that we will be able to count on international cooperation to be able to train the officers,” Ossio added.

As a member of UNESCO, Peru is committed to fight illegal trafficking of cultural heritage artifacts.
According to UNESCO, “theft, looting, illicit importation and exportation of cultural property are well-known practices, which touch first and foremost archaeological sites, religious edifices, cultural institutions and museums as well as public and private collections worldwide.”

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