A cultural heritage title entitles a person to use or manage a culturally significant object. It is based on a continuing cultural connection between the object and its owners. The title also provides access and control rights. It does not, however, define ownership in the exclusive sense. Consequently, the owners of outstanding artefacts are not free to alienate or destroy them without first considering the interests of the public.
A cultural heritage can be of many forms, from ancient archaeological sites to historical buildings. It can also include artworks, artifacts, archives, and even the lifeways of contemporary communities. However, cultural heritage can be challenged by various factors, ranging from benign neglect to major natural disasters and climate change. Listed below are some of the main threats to cultural heritage.
The 1970 UNESCO Convention defined 11 categories of cultural heritage objects. These include: artwork, antiquities over 100 years old, rare stamps, and archival materials. It also includes cultural property found in a country’s territory. The Netherlands has yet to ratify the Convention. However, it has ratified the definition of cultural heritage under the CETS No. 199.
Cultural objects have intrinsic value and must be protected from theft. In times of war and conflict, protecting cultural objects is critical. It can be the difference between peaceful coexistence between nations. It also contributes to international security. While preserving cultural heritage does not guarantee the preservation of individual pieces, protecting them from looters and reclaiming them is essential for international peace.
The destruction of cultural heritage can lead to the loss of knowledge and culture. For example, in Timbuktu, the civil war resulted in the looting of thousands of manuscripts. The Hill Museum and Manuscript Library helped preserve them by digitizing them and making them available to future generations. In the United States, the preservation of cultural heritage can help protect our nation’s cultural heritage.
Cultural heritage can contribute to restoring security and peace by promoting social harmony and respect for cultural diversity. It can also help restore national dialogue. The protection of cultural heritage is an important part of a nation’s cultural policy agenda. With an inclusive and diverse conception, cultural heritage can foster social cohesion and provide opportunities for resolving crises.
Cultural heritage can be protected by law but the definition and implementation of law are often different. In addition, the definition of cultural genocide is controversial. There are few international bodies that have accepted the term. It was controversial even in the 1940s and remains controversial today. Therefore, the idea of cultural genocide is often not accepted by world governments.