United Nations Universal Declaration on Human`Rights
Pursuant to Article 27:
Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the
community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and
its benefits material and interests resulting from any scientific
literary or artistic production of which he is the author.
EVERYONE HAS THE RIGHT TO HISTORIC CULTURAL
THE DECLARATION ON “THE RIGHT TO HISTORIC CULTURAL MEMORY” AND ITS ATTENDANT RESOLUTION CREATES THE REASON FOR THIS NEW ARTICLE
THE “DECLARATION ON THE RIGHT TO HISTORIC CULTURAL MEMORY”
The proposed “Declaration on the Right to Historic Cultural Memory” and
its attendant Resolution expands Human Rights to include historic cultural
protections outside those existing that constrain destructive warfare.
While existing Accords provide an overarching moral, political, and
security framework, this Declaration and attendant Resolution affirms
those existing protections while significantly expanding them with new
precedents, thereby enlarging the basis of Human Rights beyond those
innunciated in the Articles and relevant Accords in the United Nations
Universal Declaration of Human Rights to include Historic Cultural Memory.
Culture is a network of connections between and among a people, or
peoples, which create a framework of interrelated meanings that constitute
a unique Ethos. These deep feelings inhabit language, science, technology,
the arts, and religion; all creating a distinct worldview and an
understanding of the surrounding cosmos. Belongingness and well-being,
peace and repose are the core purpose of this Declaration and Resolution.
“THE DECLARATION ON THE RIGHT TO HISTORIC CULTURAL MEMORY”
Giving comfort and reassurance to the world; recognizing, the urgent need
for protection and justice for cultures and their historic resources; We
now require historic cultural protections for peoples’, sites, artifacts
and contingent historic environments; Care and protection requires
cooperation by all peoples and societies; Conservation and preservation
that are assurances of shared values and meanings an affirmation of the
continuity of memory and love that constitutes remembrance no matter how
beautiful or abhorrent, shared or personal; In these places everyone
stands before the presence of Death and Life in awe;
Realizing that when conflict breaks the tenuous existence of humanity and
social and environmental destabilization lead to chaos (violence,
destruction, vandalism, reprisals and looting) thereby producing intense
feelings that infringe destructively on cultural and historical locations
and contexts causing deep resentment, arousing protective and potentially
violent reactions: Slight disruption, interference, or infringement
creates retribution and aggressive reaction;
Affirming that caring is a primordial response that living cultures and
historic vestiges of past lives imbue in individuals, groups or wholes
societies or the World with concern and care with their perceptions of the
meanings embodied in historic sites, artifacts, and graves; These
abandoned sites, that are sometimes vacated by the culture that created
them, gradually, over long periods of time, become more and more the
inheritance and the responsibility of the world, thereby care reaches
across the boundaries of place, time, and culture; Abandoned properties
become shared memory, a universally shared ‘common property’; Therefore,
these are the responsibility of the United Nations and its relevant
Stating that ‘Historic Cultural Memory’ is now a global responsibility and
heritage that is the treasury of living knowledge; Historically common
meanings for individuals and societies can be discerned and wisdom derived
becoming a seedbed for insights into the future growth of humanity and
thereby a catalyst for hope;
Knowing that any human without memory is lost; Humanity without memory is
a frightful retreat into sub-human consciousness; In each moment lost, a
precious artifact, site, or monument disappears for all time; This ongoing
historical cultural destruction must cease;
Beseeching, The United Nations General Assembly, and The United Nations
Commission on Human Rights to endorse and enact new and expanded
protections and provisions as both a new Article with its attendant
Declaration and Resolution into the frameworks of United Nation’s
Universal Declaration of Human Rights; The “Declaration on the Right to
Human Memory” and its attendant “Resolution ‘On the Rights for Protection
of Historic Cultural Properties and Resources” thereby provideing
reassurance to Everyone.
The ‘Declaration’ and attendant Resolution are based upon the long
evolution of Human Rights from the Roman J(i)us Gentium (Justice for all
humans) that emerged from customary law where humans (abandoned women,
children, refugees, widows, orphans, the dead and their remains) claimed
justice before Rome and further integrates Common Law and Canon Law. This
Declaration also further articulates the concepts of Res Communis (the
Common Property of the Common-wealth of everyone) and Res Nullis (property
that does not belong to the Common Property). The Declaration and
Resolution recognizes that Native American customs and forms of governance
deeply influenced both the thought and formation of the United States
Declaration of Independence and the later Constitution of the United
States, and its attendant Bill of Rights.
The ‘Declaration and Resolution’ recalls and honors all past efforts to
constrain cultural and historical destruction during past th
usand years including
previous treaties, accords, and protections and more the United
States Civil War following on wi9th theseveral Hague Accords since 1902,
various acts of the League of Nations, The Roerich Accords, the UNESCO
Convention on The Means of Prohibiting Illicit Import, Export, and
Transfer of Ownership Cultural Property, the Geneva and Helsinki Accords
and the United States Convention on Cultural Property Importation Act, and
most specifically Articles 14 , 22 and 27 of the United Nations Universal
Declaration on Human Rights. The proposed Declaration and Resolution also
acknowledges more recent expansions of expanding Rights including The
several Hague Accords that frame the Antarctic Treaties protecting
Antarctica, including it’s flora and fauna. The Antarctic Precedence led
to the formation of outer space law beginning with the Outer Space Treaty
affirmed in 1967.
In context of this Declaration and its Resolution it is important to
consider the governance precedents of Native Americans where power rises
up from the earth and its ecology into individuals, into families, clans,
tribes, and nations all bonded into multi-tribal councils and
confederations. These forms of governance were deeply understood by
Benjamin Franklin and first written by Franklin’s in his 1754 ‘Articles of
the Confederation’, that was based on his observations and experience of
the Iroquois Confederation. These Native American precedents found rich
soil in the emergence of new American Nation of the United States and
government that formed the Declaration of Independence in which Franklin
was a primary influence in framing the Constitution and Bill of Rights of
the United States. These deep and historic Native Rights underpin this
Declaration and Resolution and the proposed new Article for the United
Nation Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The history of the primacy of ‘location’, places are set aside by human
custom as contexts important to continuity, and on the other hand, set
aside by divine intervention, communication or presence—therefore
belonging to a transcendental or divine reality and the communal
remembrance of it through environment, custom, and ritual. In
sequestration we are combined or setting aside, and all those impulses we
associate with refuge or memorial, preserve or park, are the archetypal
foundations of every individual human and culture. These places, objects,
persons and times are outside customary or normal conventions by the
imposition of exclusive conditions or rules. For example those traveling
to and from places are given privileges and protection and preservation.
Required by the site obtains to its participants, even from a distance.
These locations of common value are demarcated by extremes—the extreme of
totally famous monuments, rendered nearly invisible by their universal
fame (the Pyramids, the Acropolis, the Taj Mahal, etc.) where cultural
artifacts are endangered by their extraordinary celebrity. At the other
extreme we have those relatively unknown treasures (e.g. the Buddhas in
Afghanistan or Ankor Wat in Cambodia) residing in abandoned status needing
unique protection from the threats of overweening greed and violence of
persons, governments, religions—or the forces of economic development,
compounded by the dangers of nature and time.
The locations of common value also require the Right of access. Pilgrims
going to shrines are often exposed to danger and violence causing loss of
innocent life. This heinous attack on innocent people should be subject to
the most severe penalties imposed by the World Court.
A communion of the individual or group in the historic cultural time is
usually experienced in ‘place’ by divine intervention, communication or
presence—hence belonging to a transcendental reality and the remembrance
of it. This sequestration or setting aside, and all those impulses we
associate with sanctuary or memorial, preserve or park, are deeply
embedded in the archetypal foundations of human life. In every situation,
these places, objects, persons and times are set outside the customary or
normal conventions by imposition of special conditions or rules. The
history of the concept of a location or place set aside by special
ceremonial and meaningful significance, or area reserved by custom, ritual
and rules relating to status and behavior, reaches as far back as we have
archaeological and historical records. On the one hand, places are set
aside by human custom as contexts important to the continuity and shared
memory of the community, and on the other hand, set aside by divine
intervention, communication or presence—hence belonging to a
transcendental reality and the remembrance of it. This sequestration or
setting aside, and all those impulses we associate with sanctuary or
memorial, preserve or park, are the archetypal foundations of human life.
In every situation, these places, objects, persons and times are set
outside the customary or normal conventions by imposition of unique
conditions,policies or rules.
This proposed Resolution is pursuant to the proposed “Declaration on the Right to Historic Cultural Memory.”
The “Resolution On the Rights of Protections for Historic Cultural Properties and Resources” reaffirms existing protections and preservations asserting new precedence and procedures beyond present constraints in ‘warfare’. Enabling historic cultural protections will provide the world with legal and political force as well as needed economic incentives. It is imperative for historic cultural memory to include new definitions for ‘endangerment’ and ‘crisis’ that will give universal assurance to everyone.
“THE RESOLUTION ON THE RIGHTS TO PROTECTIONS FOR HISTORIC CULTURAL PROPERTIES AND RESOURCES”
Reiterating that the core this Resolution is care and protection for living historic cultures, These protections also pertain to culturally vacated abandoned sites, artifacts and graves
Proclaiming that the vast body traditional humanitarian Law: Common Law, Accords, Codes, Pacts, and Policies do not sanction destruction of historic cultural properties by anyone under any circumstance (other than when historical properties are used for direct military purposes). In endangered conditions it is crucial for the World to protect, proclaim and propagate, policies and rules including those proposed herein.
Knowing from daily experience that all things are interconnected and integrated; actions far from us come near, and reciprocally our actions reach afar, even at the same moment; Realizing that global networking communication systems grow in flat immediate time, actual artifacts and monuments from deep historic time are now more personally and socially sabilizing; A rooted sense of place is a balance to the dislocation of locally rooted belonging; An equilibrium between local and global, past and future is foundational to planetary civilization and a basis for future peaceful communion;
‘Artifactual Memory’ is of enormous ‘Worth’; that can be quantified, thereby identified and given economic form to interact within the existing global finance networks to develop new economic forms that protect and preserve historical cultural artifacts; Protections and conservation must garner economic incentives; These are now possible within the Global Finance System through the United Nations, The World Bank, UNESCO, and The International Monetary Fund, including many NGOs, thereby creating a ‘Common-Wealth of Cultural History’; Protecting and Preserving, restoration and conservation are essential to the future wellbeing and peace of the world; Commitment to historic preservation, thereby engages the Global Finance System with new forms of extraordinary worth; Historic cultural sites and objects, properties and resources are a non-moving ‘Value’ a historic ‘common-wealth’ of the world; A global financial framework that motivates and rewards historical preservation and conservation must be inaugurated within existing financial networks and exchanges. In the Global Finance System, preservation and conservation become economically advantageous to governments and other jurisdictions; Importantly, these ‘Values’ also become endogenous, circulating within a people and their culture, creating feelings of bonding rather than alienation and fear;
Addressing the United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations Commission on Human Rights to affirm previous protections and adopt the new expanded protections and provisions as herein defined, including new definitions for ‘Endangerment’ and ‘Crisis’; The RESOLUTION ON THE RIGHTS TO PROTECTIONS FOR HISTORIC CULTURAL PROPERTIES AND RESOURCES is urgent and commands expeditious action.
The proposed Article, Declaration and Resolution seek a universal overarching umbrella of care, understanding and preservation seeking where possible to first protect those cultural treasures most endangered or abandoned, precarious or in immediate risk of destruction while minimizing distinctions, believing that the universal memory of the world is instantiated in living custom as well as historical artifacts is the natural inheritance of every individual, requiring care.
The term ‘historic cultural property’ means those historical cultural objectifications that are deemed essential to understanding the richly variegated manifestations of human cultural invention that has accumulated within the past one hundred thousand year. What is meant by ‘historical’ in relation to ‘memory’ is more than ‘something-from-the-past’, rather, ‘historical’ embraces belonging to an evolving understanding of anthropological, archaeological, and cultural knowledge in which old and new discoveries can be situated, cherished, protected unperturbed.
The World feeling is stunned by the recent extreme violence, reinforced by ever increasing technological capacities for destruction, so violently manifest. It is urgent to declare and enforce existing protections and propel remedies for endangered historic cultural sites, objects, properties and resources, living or dead. Manifest in recent destructions cultures and sites previously un-endangered have become vulnerable in all parts of the world which has acutely revealed the needed protections and immediate remedy, particularly toward any authority that encourages or condones destructive or demeaning activity upon another culture or its history. Contemporary hostility and illicit trade involving those historic cultural’ properties’ is clearly forbidden. It is increasingly imperative for rules and procedures to protect cultural historical properties, artifacts, and locations be more immediately enforced and promulgated. It becomes incumbent upon the United Nations, UNESCO, other United Nations Agencies with the World Court to enact warrants for prosecution and arrest; Remembering that no ambiguous excuse used by any individual, government, or governmental agency used to create misinterpretation to the public, application, or expeditious excuse for usury or for removal or destruction of cultural historical properties is forbidden by a large body of historical law and ancient custom. Increasingly all individual nations must act in a concerted manner with the UN, UNESCO, and the World Court, to expedite immediate warrants and arrests during hostilities swiftly in aftermath of conflicts; Disincentives and punishment need to be actively enforced against individuals and societies, religions, states and countries.
No legally constituted authority or force can stand by, either overtly or covertly and permit behavior that brands other cultures (individuals or societies) as ‘other’ and therefore deserving contempt; by allowing destruction, vandalism, looting and violence or reprisals aimed at dehumanizing, creating prejudice and fear; engendering abuse and neglect, at worst fostering the processes that leads to either rapid or gradual genocide. Overt actions, transgressions or tacit permissions given by legal authority are immoral, unethical and illegal before the entire world.
It is necessary to develop multinational agreements that will permit immediate delivery of assistance within minutes of a crisis that endangers cultural or historical properties, artifacts, and locations. Many forms of aid can be deployed within minutes of a ‘crisis’, and more within a very few hours. If the United Nations is successful in providing aid in ‘crisis’ and ‘endangerment’ for the protection of historic cultural Memory it will positively enforce confidence in global governance and mutual bonds amongst peoples.
It is important to point to previous positive multinational collaborations, as Abu Simbel, in Egypt, Ramsesses II’s tomb, (1964-68) and the ongoing efforts in repairing war damages and further uncovering of the extensive complex of a large capital Ankor Wat in Cambodia since 1974; And most recently, the valiant, yet unsuccessful, extraordinary efforts of independent nations; Japan, China, Iran, Russia, India, augmented by the many efforts of international religious organizations to save the Great Buddhas in Bamyan Afghanistan. Even Kofi Annan, the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, personally met with Mullah Omar, the head of the Taliban Government of Afghanistan, to forestall their destruction.
Accepting that most cultures in the world customarily define ‘property’ in extremely divergent ways; entitlement to ‘properties’ requires an understanding of contending definitions of ‘Cultural Properties’. Examples of these incompatibilities can be briefly summarized: The historical and modern systems use abstract lines on maps, that are reinforced by treaties and laws, usually backed by force; these lines on maps have usually created globally unending conflicts with few functional results. The other extreme of the concept of property, are cultures with complex sets of ceremonial liturgies that if properly performed guarantee the right of their culture to proper ownership from the stars above to the waters beneath, from specific geological features and resources, extending to the horizons in a total web of meanings relating to all aspects of their specific culture; in between are such complex concepts of Proprietorship, similar to as in the concept of human adoption, those who take care of and maintain resources of the land, making it life-giving. Another sense of Cultural Property is given to those who locally and specifically care for the land and make the surrounding ecosystem flourish. Further, there are Jurisdictions that contain cultural historical properties – from the local, or regional, including the Native Sovereign Nations enclosed within modern Nation States.
There are other property jurisdictions that are tribal and traditional where ‘property’ is conveyed by custom from one generation to another. In these cultures environmental resources come from nature itself as the gift of Life. The multiple property jurisdictions pertaining to sacred properties with their profound sacral significance, whether sites, shrines, churches, temples, graves, pilgrimage paths are the most sensitive ‘properties’ often requiring the convergence of customary, religious, and secular legal jurisdictions protecting both the sacred properties and the people within their aegis. Through all of history special status and protections pertain to these sacred sites and the participants journeying to them, including pilgrims. These contradictions confront any cultural object or artifacts with the realization that, only rarely, do such objects appear in a simple condition. Hence, the difference between traditions and the Hague Conventions and the subsequent UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting the Illicit Import and Export, and Transfer ofOwnership of Cultural Property- each code defines a slightly different domains —hence nuances of value can effect the way a cultural artifact is understood and protected. As a result, there are many gaps that lead to controversies over jurisdiction. The main historical fracture lines lie between the concept ‘one’s own’—the belonging to place, earth, language, or tribe becoming customary tradition and law expounded by Grotius, Locke, and Burke, most recently playing out in tribal claims upon cultural artifacts. In contrast the concept of ‘for all’—belonging to God, humanity, the planet, articulated by Wyclif, Saravia, Filmer, Von Herder, Kant and Zouain, is seen in the universal claims of Science upon artifactual repositories. Recent conflicts between native peoples and the sciences are instructive examples of the contradictions about historic properties and their contents.
Identifying that there exists a communication network that instantaneously creates the potential for a fundamental database with the integration of all local or national computer-based information data banks on cultural and historic sites. The truly enormous and powerful financial network called the Global Finance System can be engaged to create new stable value for historical cultural sites; and can be a significant resource for those countries and communities supporting cultural historical preservation; These ‘Worth/Values’ can be facilitated through the World Bank and World Bank, IMF, UNESCO and in general the United Nations that can expand the existing Accord between UNESCO and the World Bank.
The Roerich Pact of 1935 (endorsed by the Pan American Union) and the Hague Conventions expanded these claims upon common justice to a wider or more universal call while yet embodying the Worth/Value’ of the local distinction:
“Being Convinced that the damage to cultural property belonging to any people whatsoever means damage to the cultural heritage of mankind, since each people makes its contribution to the culture of the world”…
The proposed Article, Declaration and Resolution affirm the Roerich Pact as historic precedent.