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eBay to limit sale of cultural artefacts

Switzerland's Federal Culture Office and online auction house eBay have agreed to limit the sale of archaeological artefacts over the internet.

The memorandum of understanding, signed on Tuesday in collaboration with the Federal Police Office and the Association of Swiss Cantonal Archaeologists, follows a successful three-month pilot project in 2008.

eBay "will only permit the sale of archaeological artefacts in Switzerland with proof of legality issued by the competent authorities in Switzerland or abroad," the Culture Office said in a statement.

The restrictions apply particularly to cultural property classified in risk categories including those contained in the "red list" of the International Council of Museums, and in categories defined in bilateral agreements.

Both Interpol and Unesco, the United Nations culture agency, have released recommendations concerning the illegal trade of stolen cultural artefacts.

A law banning the illegal trafficking of cultural property entered into force in Switzerland nearly four years ago. The country is one of the world's top four trade hubs for art objects.

eBay's international headquarters are in Bern, the Swiss capital.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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