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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Egypt Officially Asks U.S. for MoU to Protect Cultural Heritage

The Cultural Property Advisory Committee (CPAC) is scheduled to take up Egypt's formal request to have American import protections placed on endangered archaeological material originating from that country. The Federal Register today pre-published a notice announcing that CPAC will begin a review of Egypt's proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on June 2.

Temple of Isis at Philae in Egypt.
CHL has been calling for greater protection of archaeological sites, religious structures, and monuments since 2011 because of increasing perils to cultural heritage in Egypt. These threats have been chronicled in several CHL blog posts including here and here.

The International Council of Museums itself alerted the world to this swelling problem in 2012 by publishing the Emergency Red List of Egyptian Cultural Objects at Risk.

To submit comments concerning the proposed MoU, go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal and enter Docket No. DOS-2014-0008. Comments must be sent to CPAC by May 14. They must relate to the "four determinations" laid out by the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act (CPIA). These include:
(A) [whether] the cultural patrimony of the State Party is in jeopardy from the pillage of archaeological or ethnological materials of the State Party; 
(B) [whether] the State Party has taken measures consistent with the Convention to protect its cultural patrimony; 
(C) [whether] --(i) the application of the import restrictions . . . with respect to archaeological or ethnological material of the State Party, if applied in concert with similar restrictions implemented, or to be implemented within a reasonable period of time, by those nations (whether or not State Parties [to the 1970 UNESCO Convention]) individually having a significant import trade in such material, would be of substantial benefit in deterring a serious situation of pillage, and (ii) remedies less drastic than the application of the restrictions set forth in such section are not available; and 
(D) [whether] the application of the import restrictions . . . in the particular circumstances is consistent with the general interest of the international community in the interchange of cultural property among nations for scientific, cultural, and educational purposes.
Photo credit: Martyn E. Jones

By Rick St. Hilaire Text copyrighted 2010-2014 by Ricardo A. St. Hilaire, Attorney & Counselor at Law, PLLC. Blog url: culturalheritagelawyer.blogspot.com. Any unauthorized reproduction or retransmission of this post is prohibited. CONTACT INFORMATION: www.culturalheritagelawyer.com