Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My Note to CPAC

In regards to the Cambodian MoU renewal meetings set for February 27th, I have posted the following comment, and advance of a more formal letter. I encourage my readers and blogosphere colleagues to do the same. The website is here. Comments are due by the 6th February. You may also contribute your time and volunteer power to SAFE's "Say YES to Cambodia" campaign, the cause page of which is here. It's all about getting the word out and letting the government know exactly WHY archaeologists, heritage professionals, scholars and followers of the antiquities trade, and concerned citizens alike all seek to renew the MoU for another five years. If you have more to add, a different perspective to share, or feel you can do better, I encourage you to do so. For even more inspiration, see here. It will take as much concerted group effort as possible to make sure this renewal goes through.

"To the CPAC committee"

I am a professional archaeologist and physical anthropologist with field experience in Southeast Asia (primarily Vietnam, for which no MoU yet exists), and an ongoing project at the University of Sydney's Institute of Criminology, attempting to better quantify the illicit antiquities trade from South and Southeast Asia to Western destinations. It has long been recognized that active MoU's remain the most effective legal means that the US government possesses to bilaterally enforce heritage laws, prosecute offenders, and lend weight to Customs efforts in both source and demand countries.
The last five years have seen the continued implementation of the Cambodian MoU and its elimination now would render the world's largest antiquities market fully open for business once again, as well as ensure that affecting measurable decline in looting in Cambodia itself would become much more difficult. For the sake of the people and irreplaceable historic and prehistoric heritage of Cambodia, the integrity of the archaeological record, and the future ability to use archaeological science to continue to understand the past, I urge CPAC to renew the US-Cambodia MoU."

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