The United States Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity Clarification Act, or Senate Bill 2212, was proposed on March 20, 2012 and if passed, would allow foreign governments to immunize themselves from U.S. lawsuits when loaning art and antiquities to American museums.
What does this mean?
Country A loans Item A to a U.S. museum.
Country B realizes that Item A was originally stolen from a site within its borders and wants to pursue repatriation of that item.
As long as the U.S. State Department first granted the U.S. museum immunity from seizure for exhibition of the object and had posted the grant in the Federal Register, Country B has no legal recourse to recover their property. This sends an awful message that is in complete opposition to the U.S. commitment to cultural protection and preservation.
What can you do to help?
Tell the Senate not to allow museums to knowingly exhibit looted antiquities and postpone consideration of the United States Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity Clarification Act (S. 2212/H.R. 4086) until it has addressed concerns with this bill through hearings open to all interested parties.
The Lawyer’s Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation (LCCHP) has put together a form letter addressing these concerns and by clicking on the following links you can voice your concern to:
You can also tweet or call Senator Leahy at (202) 224-4242.
Also, sign the petition asking Congress to abandon Senate Bill 2212 and add your voice to the growing number of people who do not want the United States to exhibit looted antiquities.