The preservation of cultural heritage is important because it can help heal a nation, especially after war. During the civil war in Timbuktu, for example, thousands of manuscripts were stolen. In response, the city’s Hill Museum and Manuscript Library digitized them and presented them to future generations. Now, these treasures are safe and readable again. And, thanks to the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library, we can all share them with the world.
While cultural heritage is a collective endeavor, the importance of individuals’ contributions cannot be understated. It is a human creation, and the actions that make up that heritage are deeply personal and communal. It is harmful to an individual’s normative agency to deny them the means to create their own heritage. Such deprivation can take place in systematic ways, or in more ruthless ways. This article will focus on the impact of cultural genocide on the creation of heritage.
Regardless of the level of cultural value, cultural heritage management must take into account competing interests. For example, cultural objects should be classified according to their social function and heritage value. Highly symbolic objects stand out because they have a personal identity value to the people involved. For example, an artefact that was made solely for the market is unlikely to pass the heritage title test, and must be a tangible reminder of a family’s lost way of life.
A heritage title is a form of title based on the continual cultural link between the owner and the heritage. This entitles the owner of the heritage object to certain rights over the property. These rights include access, control, return, and ‘equitable solutions’. If you’re not sure about the legal definition of ‘equitable’, consider asking a lawyer. They’ll be able to assist you in your legal battle.
The problem is that the existing legal framework for art trade is based on the 1970 UNESCO Convention. Consequently, regular ownership concepts are not adequate to resolve title disputes involving cultural objects. The concept of heritage title may serve as a bridge between different legal regimes, particularly in the context of human rights law. So, why does cultural heritage need human rights law? The human rights law approach to the issue will help ensure that cultural objects are protected.
Despite its legitimacy, cultural genocide is a serious issue. It can be triggered by religious or other motives, or by a larger campaign to eliminate the cultural remains of a group. It may also be part of a Year Zero effort to erase past cultures and history and start anew. And the cultural genocide that occurred in the past has a tragic history, as the Holocaust and the ensuing persecution of the Jews reveals.