Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Egypt Seeks Change in Law to Disadvantage Collectors

The repressive military dictatorship of the banana republic of Egypt seeks changes in laws which will affect collectors. They claim credit for the new restrictive German law and presse for the reversal of burden of proof policy over Antiquities (George Mikhail, "How Egypt intends to stop sale of its relics around the world").
According to Shaaban Abdel-Gawad, the director general of the Department of Recovered Antiquities within the Ministry of Antiquities [...] the ministry is taking necessary steps to stop the selling of Egypt’s relics in international auctions by following up on the auctions that are being held around the world and checking if the missing artifacts at home are being displayed in any of the exhibitions and auctions.” “In case it was proven that some of the missing relics were put up for auction somewhere in the world, the ministry would get in touch with the auction house or the host country to seize back the archaeological pieces by virtue of ownership documents showing that they belong to the Egyptian state,” Abdel-Gawad added. “If there were no documents to this effect, due to many illegal excavation works and thefts of relics in Egyptian museums and archaeological stores especially after 2011, we deal with the matter in our capacity as the country of origin of such relics, and we require the concerned auction house to provide documents proving its ownership of the archaeological pieces.” Commenting on other obstacles preventing Egypt from recovering relics from international auctions, Abdel-Gawad said, “The local governing laws in the countries where such auctions are being held are the biggest challenge for us. We are dealing with about a hundred countries and most of them allow the antiquities trade, while other countries did not sign the 1970 UNESCO convention, whereby the antiquities trade is criminalized.”
Except that it is not. This is overreach by the Middle Eastern state ruled by a military dictator
He noted, “Egypt has been demanding the amendment of the UNESCO 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property to include all relics that had been looted and stolen before that date. It is also demanding that the auction houses be responsible for providing proof of ownership of any relics they are displaying instead of the concerned country of origin.” He also said that many countries whose relics have been smuggled and stolen, such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia and China, among others, want to cooperate with Egypt to pressure UNESCO to amend the convention’s articles in this regard. For his part, Bassam al-Chammah, a historian and Egyptologist, told Al-Monitor that he is calling for a mass petition, whereby the signatures of Egyptians are collected to pressure UNESCO to amend the convention and stand by Egypt to recover its missing artifacts by facilitating legal proceedings and pressuring other countries to return related relics and pieces.
Read more: here

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