Convention on the Protection of the Archeological, Historical, and Artistic Heritage of the American Nations, Convention of San Salvador (1976)


Organization of American States

The Convention of San Salvador seeks to identify, register and protect the cultural heritage of the Americas in order to prevent illegal traffic in cultural property and to promote cooperation between the American states. The cultural property protected includes pre- and post-contact archaeological remains, objects, buildings, and monuments as well as books, manuscripts, maps, and other materials housed in libraries and archives and any other cultural property which parties wish to include under the scope of the Convention. Import or export of this property is deemed unlawful unless it expressly authorized by the owner state for the purpose of promoting understanding of national cultures. The Convention encourages registration of collections and transactions and prohibition of imports without appropriate authorization and certification. The Convention encourages nations to develop programs and policies to protect cultural property and stipulates the measures that nations should take if they become aware of any illegal trade in cultural property. The Convention also recommends cooperation between nations to facilitate the exchange of information as well as objects for exhibit. The Organization of American States is charged with overseeing the effectiveness and enforcement of the Convention and establishing an Inter-American Registry of Cultural Property to promote the exchange of cultural property and technical cooperation.