On November 1 and 2 DePaul’s Center for Art, Museum & Cultural Heritage Law will be holding a conference examining the intersection of heritage and human rights. Here’s the list of excellent speakers:
- Intangible Cultural Heritage and Human Rights: Morag Kersel, Justin B. Richland, George Nicholas, Catherine Bell
- Environmental Justice and Cultural Rights: Patty Gerstenblith, Rosemary Coombe, Dean Suagee, Dorothy Lippert
- Featured Lecturer Karima E. Bennoune, Special Rapporteur in the field of Cultural Rights, United Nations
- Featured Lecturer Shamila Batohi, Senior Legal Advisor to the Prosecutor, International Criminal Court
- Sovereigns vs. Peoples: Who Has Rights to Cultural Heritage: Lubna S. El-Gendi, Sarah Dávila-Ruhaak, Rebecca Tsosie
- Resolving Cultural Heritage Disputes Through Alternative Dispute Resolution: Giving Peace a Better Chance (Ethics Panel): Thomas R. Kline, Stacey Jessiman de Nanteuil, Alessandro Chechi, Lori Breslauer
The Alternative Dispute Resolution panel looks particularly interesting.
Continue reading “Human Rights and Cultural Heritage at DePaul”
|One of the horses from a four-horse chariot group
The Guardian reported over the weekend that Turkey plans to petition the European Court of Human Rights for the return of sculptures from the mausoleum of Helicarnassus, currently held by the British Museum. Norman Palmer is quoted in the piece, “I have not heard of it [human rights] being used to raise a claim for the specific restitution of particular tangible objects … This would be a novel claim.” That strikes me as exactly right, I’ don’t see a direct human right to specific cultural objects. And my initial reaction is skeptical of attempting to use a rights-based approach for repatriation. One difficulty that this principle will have is in application. How would a court decide what should be repatriated and what should not. Are all objects from a region tied to that people’s human rights? And is this right only related to the original situs of the object. Could Londoners argue that they have a corresponding human right in some of the objects in the British Museum which is created because of the display and care of the objects. Lots of interesting questions, and this will be a legal challenge to follow closely. The Guardian makes sure to note that Turkey has had its own human rights record challenged by the Strasbourg court.
The mausoleum sculptures were first removed from what is now modern Turkey in 1846 by the British ambassador to Constantinople and others were taken in subsequent excavations by archaeologist Charles Thomas Newton.
The piece also notes that the mere act of announcing a challenge will raise questions about the British Museum’s ownership of the sculptures, and will of course cause similar questions to be asked of other bits and pieces of the ancient 7 wonders which are currently held by the British Museum.
- Dalya Alberge, Turkey turns to human rights law to reclaim British Museum sculptures the Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2012/dec/08/turkey-british-museum-sculptures-rights (last visited Dec 10, 2012).
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