Tuesday, February 17, 2015

UNESCO-L replaces UNIDROIT-L as a Discussion Forum

UNESCO-L replaces UNIDROIT-L as a Discussion Forum

It has now become clear that the 1995 Unidroit Convention is unlikely ever to gain enough adherents to have an appreciable impact upon the international antiquities trade and collecting of antiquities. As Listowner, in view of this inactivity in progress of the Convention that is the topic of UNIDROIT-L I have decided to restrict its future topicality to messages addressing the future of the Convention and actions taken under the Convention, such as enforcement transactions between State Parties. Messages addressing other topics described in the FAQ page:
should now be directed to UNESCO-L.

As Listowner of UNESCO-L I have requested all UNIDROIT-L listmembers interested in continuing an online discussion of cultural property issues to join that group, where subjects no longer topical on UNIDROIT-L will be welcome.

The 1970 UNESCO Convention has become the operative international legal instrument for efforts to restrict trading in antiquities by import restrictions negotiated between State Parties. The United States of America, in particular, has recently been very active in issuing import restrictions under the leadership of archaeologist Maria Kouroupas, who heads the State Department's Cultural Heritage center.

These restrictions and the processes through which they have been evaluated, negotiated and issued have been vehemently criticized by collectors' rights advocates, notably the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild:
which has attempted to contest these restrictions through legal action.

Discussions relating to this and other current topics of interest to collectors of ancient coins and other types of antiquities, to the dealers who supply them, and to the activists who oppose the international antiquities trade on the grounds that it incentivizes looting of archaeological sites and theft of cultural property, are now topical and welcomed on UNESCO-L.

Dave Welsh
UNESCO-L Listowner


UNIDROIT-L has been a very important group in the past with several hundred active members, however the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention has now become a dead letter and there has been almost no message traffic for the last two years.

It is valuable to have a public discussion list for issues regarding cultural property law, import restrictions on antiquities and concerns that the antiquities trade incentivizes looting of archaeological sites.

Blogs are good formats for presenting news and the blogowner's opinions, however the comment format and posting restrictions do not allow much scope for those other than the blogowner to carry on an extended discussion of any topic.

I invite all readers to join UNESCO-L where they will be able to start their own topics of discussion and present opinions from all points of view. The FAQ page is

There will be no censorship regarding points of view. However, contributors will be expected to conform to list rules regarding civility and decorum. Invective and personal attacks will be grounds for moderation.