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Free Cultural Property Ethics Law Essay

Introduction

Culture refers to the accumulation of beliefs, diverse knowledge base, laws, and customs of various people as well as artistic achievements of a given group of people. Culture in other words can represent the level of civilization of a people. In other respect culture may be seen as an aspect that is inherited from one generation to the next. This therefore means that a people may have some certain aspects that they hold dear which becomes cultural heritage. For example the Aboriginal people of Australia might have certain aspects of their culture that are their heritage. Then the expression or tangible evidence of a cultural heritage is equated to cultural property[1].

Cultural Property

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Cultural property can refer to non-renewable resources which may be of a valuable nature. It further covers works or artists in a population, ancient, ruins or historical sites. Other valuable resources that represent cultural property are archeological locations as well as artifacts. Museums, collections and archives as well as libraries represent cultural property. One of the most important cultural properties in the world is sacred places. These may include shrines, cemeteries, temples, mosques as well as churches. Cultural property of whatever nature has immeasurable value to a people[2]. Such assets constitute the best definition of a society; it provides one with information on the origin of a group of people. It further provides historical perspectives on certain individuals as well as their traditions.

However these sites and assets due to their popularity bear the challenge from looting and destruction. Thieves as well as other parties with ill motives have been targeting archeological and other sites for profit. In the current world black markets are everywhere encouraging imports and exports of artifacts. This true fact that cultural property face challenges from destruction and illegal export necessitates protection. It is important for states or certain population to protect their heritage. This is because cultural properties in today’s world are rare to come by; artifacts that are with genuine aspects are few and rare to find[3]. This is because the environment has had an impact on their quality as well as accidents that have completely destroyed them.

It is also true that genuine archeological sites as well as artifacts cannot be reproduced in its original form. The other reason for protecting such assets is their vulnerability to various factors. For example certain artifacts may be destroyed due to some human misunderstanding on their impacts on the society[4]. Change in tastes and preferences of a people may impact on certain archeological sites. For example a population might transform from professing Islam faith to Christian faith which might impact on durability of mosques.

A documented example is the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas by the Taliban rebels in the year 2001[5]. The other aspect that necessitates protection of cultural property is the impacts of the environment. Archeological sites face degradation from centuries of changing weather. Cultural property refers to known as well as unknown archeological sites or artifacts. Therefore there is need for a people to conserve these assets in their original states.

Legal Definition and cultural property Ethics

Cultural property law in the world is defined according to two international sources; these are Article I which is the 1954 Hague Convention and the other one is the Article I made in the 1970 UNESCO Convention. This body of law regulates and protects disposition of materials held by a community. These laws affect ancient works, tangible as well as intangible assets; these laws impact certain groups of individuals or people with vested interests. Cultural property law covers international treaties as well as domestic aspects in the form of state and federal laws[6]. In respect to the law, Cultural property covers three important aspects. It has a bearing on cultural property during armed conflicts, repatriation and looting it then provides significance on built environment.

Article I (The Hague Convention) provides protection for cultural property in the case of armed conflicts. According to this convention cultural property covers the following irrespective where they originate or who owns it. They include any immovable and movable assets which are of importance to the heritage of every individual. These assets might include architecture monuments, history and art; whether these aspects are religious are of a secular nature.

The other aspects that the convention covers are group of buildings, manuscripts, books, objects of designers, scientific collections and archives[7]. The convention covers buildings whose purpose is to preserve or provide exhibition to movable artifacts. Such buildings include museums, places refugees intend to shelter, libraries and archives in case of armed conflicts[8]. It also covers specific centers which contains huge amounts of cultural property.

Article I (The 1970 UNESCO Convention) provides legislative frameworks on the various means of preventing the exportation and importation as well as transfer of cultural property. Cultural property definition according to this convention refers to property which is designated by the state either on secular of religious grounds as of great importance. This is in terms of their history, prehistory, art, literature or for archeological reasons. The assets belong in the following stated categories: Very rare specimens and collections of flora, fauna, anatomy minerals and other objects of interest[9].

The other category includes properties relating to historical events; they include history facts on technology, science, social and military history. It also covers aspects of the life of national leaders, artists, scientists and important thinkers in a society. The convention further covers products originating from archeological evacuations; which include regular clandestine and regular objects. It also covers specific elements of historical, artistic or archeological monuments that have been destroyed for whatever reason. The Article further provides legal basis on elements covering antiquities that are more than a hundred year old; these may be engraved seals, coins or inscriptions[10]. It also covers property of artistic interests, which include elements such as pictures, drawings or paintings. It covers prints, engravings as well as lithographs. Others are works that include sculptures, statuary art, old books, manuscripts, publications and documents.

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Cultural Property Ethics Code

Individuals who trade in cultural property understand the role ethics and various trade restrictions play in ensuring distribution of culture to museums and to private collectors’ locations. The purposes of such distribution is ensures inspiration of people and movement of educative contents. There is an acknowledgement that artifacts and other cultural properties have been illegally exported all over the world. This has led to stealing of artifacts, illegally alienation of clandestinely. This has therefore led to the development of code of conduct to manage movement and trade in cultural property.

The principles of practice have been developed to distinguish cultural property being exported illegally and those that are legal. The International Code of ethics has been adopted by UNESCO committee to ensure safe return of stolen cultural property to their respective locations[11]. One of the code of conduct postulates that professional traders will be allowed to export, import or make a transfer of ownership of cultural property if there is a reason to believe it has been stolen, illegally excavated or exported.

The other aspect of consideration is that a trader who is acting as an agent for a seller should not be deemed to guarantee title on the property. This can be only true if the trader makes the buyer know the full name of the seller. However if the trader is also the seller of the goods then they are deemed to make guarantee to the property. In the case where the trader has reasonable cause to think that the property has been acquired illegally or a product from a clandestine excavation he continue on the transaction unless an agreement from the country of origin is available[12].

In the case a trader owns an object that the country of its origin wishes to return within a time that is reasonable, the trader will take all permissible steps in ensuring its return to the country. The other code of ethics is that traders dealing in transferring intellectual property will not be permitted to appraise, exhibit, retain with an intention of promoting it. The trader should always make an effort of preventing illegal export or transfer of cultural property with reasonable cause of being obtained illegally. The other code of ethics on cultural property for traders is that they will not dismember or make sell of the object in separate parts of the whole.

Further traders of cultural property should make an effort of storing the objects together as it was originally meant. In the case where a trader violates parts or whole code of ethics, they will be investigated by a body designed and nominated by participating dealers. On the other hand, if a person has a grievance on a trader’s failure to adhere to set code of ethics they have a chance to lay their complaint on the body set participating dealers[13]. The body has the duty and responsibility to investigate the complaint. The results of this form of ruling should be made at a reasonable time and its principles of application made public.

BIBLOGRAPHY

Scharf, Mp; Steiner, K, ‘The Art of International Law’ (2017) 1-4 Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law 49

Carbone, F, ‘An Insight into Cultural Heritage Management of Tourism Destinations. European’ (2016) 75-91 Journal of Tourism Research 14

Lilley, I, ‘Environmental Reviews and Case Studies’ (2016) 205-2008 Cultural Heritage, Community Engagement, And Environmental Impact Assessment In Australia. Environmental Practice 18

King, N, ‘Protecting Antiquities and Saving the Universal Museum: A Necessary Compromise between the Conflicting Ideologies of Cultural Property’ (2010) 3,711-738 Case Western Reserve Journal Of International Law 42

Alderman, Kl. The Ethical Trade In Cultural Property: Ethics And Law In The Antiquity Auction Industry, ‘(2008) 549-570 Ilsa Journal Of International & Comparative Law 14

 

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  1. Scharf, Mp; Steiner, K, ‘The Art of International Law’ (2017) 1-4 Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law 49
  2. Lilley, I, ‘Environmental Reviews and Case Studies’ (2016) 205-2008 Cultural Heritage, Community Engagement, And Environmental Impact Assessment In Australia. Environmental Practice 18
  3. Carbone, F, ‘An Insight into Cultural Heritage Management of Tourism Destinations. European’ (2016) 75-91 Journal of Tourism Research 14
  4. King, N, ‘Protecting Antiquities and Saving the Universal Museum: A Necessary Compromise between the Conflicting Ideologies of Cultural Property’ (2010) 3,711-738 Case Western Reserve Journal Of International Law 42
  5. Lilley, I, ‘Environmental Reviews and Case Studies’ (2016) 205-2008 Cultural Heritage, Community Engagement, And Environmental Impact Assessment In Australia. Environmental Practice 18
  6. Carbone, F, ‘An Insight into Cultural Heritage Management of Tourism Destinations. European’ (2016) 75-91 Journal of Tourism Research 14
  7. King, N, ‘Protecting Antiquities and Saving the Universal Museum: A Necessary Compromise between the Conflicting Ideologies of Cultural Property’ (2010) 3,711-738 Case Western Reserve Journal Of International Law 42
  8. Scharf, Mp; Steiner, K, ‘The Art of International Law’ (2017) 1-4 Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law 49
  9. Lilley, I, ‘Environmental Reviews and Case Studies’ (2016) 205-2008 Cultural Heritage, Community Engagement, And Environmental Impact Assessment In Australia. Environmental Practice 18
  10. Scharf, Mp; Steiner, K, ‘The Art of International Law’ (2017) 1-4 Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law 49
  11. Alderman, Kl. The Ethical Trade In Cultural Property: Ethics And Law In The Antiquity Auction Industry, ‘(2008) 549-570 Ilsa Journal Of International & Comparative Law 14
  12. King, N, ‘Protecting Antiquities and Saving the Universal Museum: A Necessary Compromise between the Conflicting Ideologies of Cultural Property’ (2010) 3,711-738 Case Western Reserve Journal Of International Law 42
  13. Alderman, Kl. The Ethical Trade In Cultural Property: Ethics And Law In The Antiquity Auction Industry, ‘(2008) 549-570 Ilsa Journal Of International & Comparative Law 14