The Department of State is pleased to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the United States and the Government of Belize regarding protection of Belize’s cultural heritage, effective February 27, 2013 for a period of five years. This MOU demonstrates a commitment by both governments to staunch the pillage and illicit trafficking of Belize’s archaeological heritage of African, indigenous Maya, Spanish, and British influences.
The Government of Belize requested this agreement under Article 9 of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. The Convention offers a framework of cooperation among State Parties to reduce the further pillage of intact archaeological sites and ethnological objects.
With this MOU, the United States now has agreements with Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua in Central America, promoting a regional approach to combating pillage and trafficking of cultural property. The Designated List of restricted types of objects, published by Customs and Border Patrol, and information about the Agreement can be found here.
To learn more about the U.S. Department of State’s efforts in cultural preservation, please visit the Cultural Heritage Center.