Thursday, 18 November 2010

US Compliance with 1970 UNESCO Convention Article 5

ACCG officer and part-time coin dealer from California Dave Welsh begins his attack (see above) on Italy by citing article 5 of the 1970 UNESCO Convention:
The 1970 UNESCO Convention requires that the governments of States parties to the Convention shall take adequate measures to preserve and care for their cultural heritage, as these excerpts from Article 5 require:
"Article 5

To ensure the protection of their cultural property against illicit import, export and transfer of ownership, the States Parties to this Convention undertake, as appropriate for each country, to set up within their territories one or more national services, where such services do not already exist, for the protection of the cultural heritage, with a qualified staff sufficient in number for the effective carrying out of the following functions:

He concludes that "the Italian Government isn't taking anything resembling proper care of its ancient heritage'. This is an oft-repeated argument used by some US antiquities dealers to oppose the imposition of US import controls on illegally exported antiquities (which is of course exactly what the 1970 UNESCO Convention advocates in general). The ACCG and allied groups seizes with alacrity on all and any report that there are problems with preserving sites and monuments in the "source countries" which are asking for cultural agreements facilitating this with the US. So eager to point the finger, maybe the ACCG would first show us how the US has complied with Article 5 of the convention themselves. Where is this national service mentioned in Art. 5?

Let it be added that Welsh clearly does not understand the meaning of Art. 5 (d):
organizing the supervision of archaeological excavations, ensuring the preservation "in situ" of certain cultural property, and protecting certain areas reserved for future archaeological research"
which is about excavation permits and sustainable management, its talking about keeping sites under the ground and not about dugup sites.

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