Proposed United Nations
"General Declaration on Cultural Protections"

Lowry Burgess




Proposing that the United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations

Commission on Human Rights adopt a new Article for The United Nations

Universal Charter on Human Rights.



Pursuant to Article 22 and 27:


Article 22:


Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.


Article 27:


Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community,

to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits material and interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which  he is the author.


                Proposed Article:





Pursuant to Articles 22 and 27 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights:


The Right to Historic Cultural Memory is inalienable universal right for everyone. The protection of historic cultural places and artifacts, including memorials, sites, burials, along with their environs upon which cultural historical memory depends is essential to all humanity and is a responsibility for all peoples, nations, societies and communities for all time.


The following “Declaration on The Right to Cultural Memory” creates the reason and rationale for this new UN Universal Human Right,







The proposed "Declaration on the Right to Historic Cultural Memory” and

its attendant Resolution expands Human Rights to include historic cultural

protections outside those now existing that constrain destructive warfare.

While existing Accords provide an overarching moral, political, and

security protections. This Declaration and attendant Resolution affirms

those existing protections while significantly expanding them with new

precedents, thereby enlarging the basis of Human Rights beyond those

annunciated in the existing Articles and relevant Accords in the United Nations

Universal Declaration of Human Rights to now include Historic Cultural Memory.


Culture is a network of connections between and among a people, or

peoples, which creates a framework of interrelated meanings that constitute

a unique Ethos. These deep feelings inhabit language, science, technology,

the arts, and religion; all creating a distinct worldview and an

understanding of the surrounding cosmos. Belongingness and well-being,

peace and repose are the core purposes of this Declaration and Resolution.





Giving comfort and reassurance to the world; recognizing, the urgent need

for protection and justice for cultures and their historic resources; We

now require historic cultural protections for peoples', sites, artifacts

and contingent historic environments; Care and protection requires

cooperation by all peoples and societies; Conservation and preservation

that are assurances of shared values and meanings an affirmation of the

continuity of memory and love that constitutes remembrance no matter how

beautiful or abhorrent, shared or personal; In these places everyone

stands before the presence of Death and Life in awe;


Realizing that when conflict breaks the tenuous existence of humanity and

social and environmental destabilization lead to chaos (violence,

destruction, vandalism, reprisals and looting) thereby producing intense

feelings that infringe destructively on cultural and historical locations

and contexts causing deep resentment, arousing protective and potentially

violent reactions: Slight disruption, interference, or infringement

creates retribution and aggressive reactions;


Affirming that caring is a primordial response that living cultures as well as

historic vestiges of past lives embodied in historic sites, artifacts, and graves

imbue individuals, groups or whole societies with concern and care;

Abandoned sites are often vacated by the culture that created them: Gradually,

over long periods of time, they become more and more the inheritance and

responsibility of the large societies that surround them: Thereby, care reaches across the boundaries of place, time, and culture; Abandoned properties become a more widely shared memory, eventually a universally shared 'common memory/property'; Therefore, these become and are the responsibility of the United Nations and its relevant organizations:


Stating that 'Historic Cultural Memory’ is now a global responsibility:

Heritage is crucial to the treasury of living knowledge and wisdom becoming

a seedbed for historical insights and thereby a catalyst for hope;


Knowing that any human without memory is lost; Humanity without memory is

a frightful retreat into sub-human consciousness; In each moment lost, a

precious artifact, site, or monument disappears for all time; This ongoing

historical cultural erosion and destruction must cease;


Beseeching, The United Nations General Assembly, and The United Nations

Commission on Human Rights to endorse and enact these new and expanded

protections and provisions as both a new Article with its attendant

Declaration and Resolution into the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights; The "Declaration on the Right to Human Memory" and its attendant "Resolution 'On the Rights for Protection of Historic Cultural Properties and Resources” thereby providing reassurance to Everyone:




The 'Declaration' and attendant Resolution are based upon the long

evolution of Human Rights from the Roman J(i)us Gentium (Justice for all

humans) that emerged from ancient customary law where humans (abandoned women,

children, refugees, widows, orphans, the dead and their remains) claimed

justice before Rome: Later these rights were expanded by Common Law and Canon Law: This Declaration also further integrates the concepts of Res Communis (the

Common Property of the Common-wealth of everyone) and Res Nullis (property

that does not belong to the Common Property). This Declaration and

Resolution recognizes that Native American customs and forms of governance

Deeply influenced both the thought and formation of the United States

Declaration of Independence and the later Constitution of the United

States, and its attendant Bill of Rights This resolution of individual rights is the foundation of the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights:


The 'Declaration and Resolution' honors and recalls all past efforts to

constrain cultural and historical destruction during past thousand years

including previous treaties, accords, and protections: the Liber Code, the several

Hague Accords since 1900, acts of the League of Nations, The Roerich Pact, the UNESCO Convention on The Means of Prohibiting Illicit Import, Export, and

Transfer of Ownership Cultural Property, the Geneva and Helsinki Accords

and the United States Convention on Cultural Property Importation Act, and

most specifically Articles 14, 22 and 27 of the United Nations Universal

Declaration on Human Rights:


The proposed Declaration and Resolution also acknowledges more recent expansions

of expanding Rights including The several Hague Accords that frame the Antarctic Treaties protecting Antarctica, including it’s flora and fauna. The Antarctic Precedence led to the formation of Outer Space Law beginning with the Outer Space Treaty

affirmed in 1967.


In context of this Declaration and its Resolution it is important to

consider the governance precedents of Native Americans where power rises

up from the earth and its ecology into individuals, into families, clans,

tribes, and nations all bonded into multi-tribal councils and

confederations. These forms of governance were deeply understood by

Benjamin Franklin and first written by Franklin's in his 1754 'Articles of

the Confederation', that was based on his observations and experience of

the Iroquois Confederation. These Native American precedents found rich

soil in the emergence of new American Nation of the United States and

government that formed the Declaration of Independence in which Franklin

was a primary influence in framing the Constitution and Bill of Rights of

the United States. These deep and historic Native Rights underpin this

Declaration and Resolution and the proposed new Article for the United

Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


The history of the primacy of 'location', places that are set aside by human

custom as contexts important to a continuity, and on the other hand, set

hallowed by divine intervention, communication or presence and therefore

belonging to a transcendental or divine reality in communal remembrance

through environment, custom, and ritual. These are the archetypal foundations

of every individual and culture.  Sequestration sets aside places of

refuge, memorial, preserve, park, churches or museums. These places, objects,

persons and times are placed outside customary or normal conventions by the

imposition of exclusive conditions and rules. For example, those traveling

to and from sacred places are given privileges and protections required by the

site obtain to its participants, even from a distance. Locations of common

value such as totally famous monuments, rendered nearly invisible by their

universal fame (the Pyramids, the Acropolis, the Taj Mahal where cultural

artifacts are endangered by their extraordinary celebrity. While at the other

extreme are those relatively unknown treasures (e.g. the Buddhas before their

destruction lost in the fasts of central Asia in or Ankor Wat is southeast Asia

residing in abandoned status needing unique protections from the threats of

overweening war, the violence of looting as well as dysfunctional governments,

religions or political extremism, forces of economic development, or

by the inexorable dangers of nature and time.


The locations of common value also require Rights of access. Pilgrims

going to shrines are often exposed to danger and violence causing loss of

innocent life. The heinous attack on innocent people should be subject to

the most severe penalties imposed by the World Court.



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