Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Short Comment Period for Proposed MOU's with Morocco and Yemen

The State Department's Cultural Heritage Center is only allowing a mere two weeks for written comment on proposed MOU's with Morocco and Yemen.  For the applicable Federal Register Notice along with a direct link for comments see here .

In what must be an unprecedented move, the State Department only provided public notice about the CPAC hearing the same day it published Yemen's Article 9 request.  While summaries of the requests are promised, none have yet been provided, making intelligent comment even more difficult.

Yemen's request should be controversial.  Yemen is involved in a three way civil war.  Its government and its Saudi allies stand accused of intentionally targeting cultural sites, including bombing the Dhamar Museum into dust. This raises questions whether the Yemeni government has "unclean hands" and whether artifacts should be repatriated to a war zone.  There are also other moral issues related to whether the United States Government should recognize Yemeni government rights to artifacts of displaced Jewish and Christian populations.  Under the circumstances, one has to wonder whether the short comment period is designed to keep potentially embarrassing comments about the merits of the Yemeni request to a minimum.

Addendum (10-7-19):  Additional information, including a Public Summary of the Yemeni request, can be found here.

No comments: