Bhutan proposes conference on cultural property protection

Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Chief of the Royal Bhutan Police, Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel (right), arrives at the INTERPOL
General Secretariat, greeted by the Organization’s Secretary General, Ronald K. 
Lyon: Chief of the Royal Bhutan Police, Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel, underlined his country’s commitment to transnational police cooperation by presenting the Government of Bhutan’s offer to host an international conference on the protection of cultural property, during his visit to the INTERPOL General Secretariat headquarters.

The proposal for Bhutan to host the international event in early 2013, which would bring together global experts from both the public and private sectors, was the focus of Brigadier Namgyel’s discussions with INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble and other senior officials.

“The Royal Bhutan Police is committed to protecting the cultural heritage of our country, our region and also the world, and working with INTERPOL to host this conference will help bring greater focus to a type of crime which affects us all as a society,” said Brigadier Namgyel.

Bhutan’s announcement comes less than a week after delegates at the 81st INTERPOL General Assembly in Rome, Italy, unanimously endorsed a resolution encouraging the law enforcement community to  consider as a priority the fight against the illicit traffic in cultural heritage, and to enhance international cooperation and information exchange in combating this type of crime.

Since becoming a member of INTERPOL in 2005, Bhutan has also worked closely with the world police body in combating wildlife and environmental crime through Project Predator, providing support to a series of interventions, including Operation Prey earlier this year which led to nearly 40 arrests and the seizure of a range of wildlife goods including big cat skins, rhino horn, ivory and seahorses in addition to flora such as protected orchid and cactus plants.

“During its relatively short membership of INTERPOL, the Royal Bhutan Police has already demonstrated its leadership in the area of international law enforcement cooperation, notably in regional and global efforts against wildlife crime,” said Secretary General Noble.

“Bhutan’s offer to host an international conference on the protection of Asian cultural heritage is another example of its commitment to the global policing community, and underlines the Royal Bhutan Police’s role as a valued partner in INTERPOL’s vision for a safer world,” added the INTERPOL Chief.

The Bhutan Police Chief also gave a presentation to senior INTERPOL officials on the country’s Police Youth Partnership programme: an initiative aimed at encouraging interaction between the police and young people and providing education on a range of areas including drug abuse, fire and traffic safety, youth policing, community service and conservation.

The Bhutanese delegation – which included Police Superintendents Lieutenant Colonel Kuenzang Rinzin, Major Passag Dorji and Major Deki Chogyal and Officer Commanding of Police Lieutenant Tshering Namgyal – was also briefed on INTERPOL activities against organized crime, drugs and human trafficking, as well as  on the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation which will open in Singapore in 2014.
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