The State Department’s Cultural Heritage Center has announced it is accepting comments for a proposed new MOU with Algeria, and renewals with Bulgaria and Honduras. For further details about how to comment before the July 15th close, see here.
Each MOU and renewal should give pause to all but the most ardent repatriationist.
Algeria is yet another authoritarian government that wants the State Department to recognize its rights to not only its ancient pre-Islamic cultures, but to its now displaced minorities as well (here French Pied Noirs and Jews).
Bulgaria’s imperfect democracy wants its MOU renewed despite its failure to live up to its own promises that were supposedly a quid pro quo for the initial agreement and its continuing disprespect for the private property rights of collectors.
Honduras wants yet another renewal of its 2004 MOU. MOUs were only intended to remain in effect long enough for UNESCO state parties to get their own houses in order. At what point is the US going to say enough is enough?
Is it just a waste of time commenting? After reading former CPAC member Kate FitzGibbon’s well-informed critique of how the State Department has mal-administered the Cultural Property Implementation Act, one might be forgiven for just throwing up their hands in frustration. However, CPO continues to believe that silence will be spun as acquiescence and for that reason alone those who value collecting and private property rights should comment.