Cyprus Customs briefs students on the protection of cultural heritage

13 junio 2017

Following an invitation by school teachers from a primary school in Nicosia, the capital city of Cyprus, a representative of Cyprus Customs met with 6th grade students on 6 June 2017 to brief them during a lesson that was being given on the illicit trade in antiquities.

After a brief introduction on the role of Customs today and the challenges it faces, as well as the structure and organization of Cyprus Customs, Customs Officer Georgios Constantinou explained what was being done to control the movement of cultural objects and the main results achieved in this field so far by his administration.

He also showed the students several photos during his talk, including one of a holy icon that was ordered through E-bay and later seized at the post office. In addition, the students were shown various awareness-raising videos on the prevention of illicit trafficking and the protection of cultural heritage from destruction.

The students were very focused during the presentation and actively participated in the discussion. Answering a question aimed at assessing their knowledge on what Customs actually does, one of the students responded that since ancient times Customs has been responsible for collecting taxes.

Asked by a student whether Customs checks all imported parcels in Cyprus, Mr. Constantinou said that, due to the increasingly high volume of imported parcels and the need to facilitate legal trade, it is not possible to check all of them. He went on to say that for this reason, Customs used risk analysis as a tool in the fight against trafficking.

The initiative taken by Cyprus Customs to participate in such a course, which was well received, was a start in “cultivating” students’ consciousness when it comes to the protection of cultural heritage and, according to the administration’s Head of Education and Training, may lay the foundation for a comprehensive awareness campaign targeting schools in the coming years.