Tuesday, 26 May 2015

US: We will not help you, but you must help us

The Museum Association of Arizona has issued a statement in support of the Hopi Tribe of Arizona in their efforts to halt the sale of Hopi 'ethnographic art' at the EVE Auction House in Paris on June 1, 2015. 
We are dismayed by the continued inaction of the French authorities [...]. We urge both the US and French authorities to find a way resolve these issues in accordance with the accepted principles of international law and U.S. interests.
Sadly they do not go the extra step of advising US authorities what they need to do to protect such US cultural property. It does not take much mental effort to see that the problem is there is no export licensing system to define legally exported from illicitly exported cultural property from the US, despite in being a state party to the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property since the early 1980s. The sooner the US implements that convention properly at home, and not just one article of it, the sooner US citizens can enjoy the rights of those of other nations whose cultural property is exported to feed the "ancient and ethnographic art" market.
By the way, the US has not signed a bilateral cultural property MOU with France, either, apparently that is not thought to be in any way "in accordance with US interests". Come on America, come on Museum Association of Arizona, do the decent thing before you expect others to do it for you.


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