What is Bulgaria doing to protect its cultural heritage?

Bulgaria is a state party to the 1954 Hague Convention and Protocol as well as to the 1999 Hague Protocol. It is also a state party to the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export or Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property as well as to the 1972 World Heritage Convention Concerning the Protection of World Culture and Natural Heritage, the 1992 European Convention for the Protection of Architectural Heritage and other international and regional instruments. Bulgarian national legislation includes the 1999 Protection and Development of Culture Act as well a the 2009 Cultural Heritage Act.

In Bulgaria, the enforcement of cultural heritage laws is carried out by the Unit for Combating the Traffic of Cultural and Historical items under the jurisdiction of the Unit for Combating Organized Crime (GDBOP). Since 2006, the GDBOP has made combating antiquities looters and smugglers a priority and has launched a variety of projects. For instance, in 2010 the GDBOP instituted an amnesty program under which people in possession of illicit antiquities could turn them in to Bulgarian authorities and not be prosecuted for their theft.

For more information about CPAC, please visit the U.S. State Department International Cultural Property Protection web site.