July 26, 2021
There is new legislation pending in Mexico for the protection of cultural heritage of indigenous and people of African.
On June 8, 2021, the Mexican Federal Congress returned the Reform Bill with changes being presented in the first instance by the Mexican Senate Culture Commission, which was sent to the United Commissions of Culture; Indigenous Affairs; and Legislative Studies, Second of the Senate for its corresponding ruling.
In general terms, the Congressional legislators respected the initiative that was sent by the Senate, ensuring that the initiative was reviewed and analyzed in conjunction with the Legal Department of the Ministry of Culture, applying certain changes that they considered necessary:
The original opinion was adapted to the aforementioned changes, including the following:
For their part, the Instances of the Protection System that comprise the Law will lead to the integration of the Inter-secretarial Commission; its powers; the times of the meetings being at least once a year, and the mechanism to convene, as well as its president and their obligations.
The chapter referring to the National Registry of the Cultural Heritage of indigenous and Afro-Mexican peoples and communities includes the registry details, the national catalog of indigenous peoples and communities, as well as the integration of the registry.
Regarding the resolution of controversies, mediation, complaint, or denunciation are contemplated when the non-consensual use of the elements of cultural heritage, their procedures, and their definitions is identified.
In addition to this, the transitory articles establish that the entry into force of the Law will be the day following its publication in the Official Gazette; that the expenditures that are generated due to the entry into force of the law will correspond to the competent agencies and entities and will be made out of their approved budget for the corresponding fiscal year; that the Regulations of the Law will be published by the corresponding authority within a period of 180 calendar days; that the Statute of the System for the Protection of Cultural Heritage and Identity of Indigenous and Afro-Mexican Peoples and Communities will be issued by the head of the Ministry of Culture in his capacity as head of the Executive Secretary of the Inter-ministerial Commission of the Protection System, once approved by the institutions that make up the Commission, within a period that will not exceed 180 calendar days. The President of Mexico will order that the entire text of the normative body of this Decree be translated into the languages of the indigenous peoples of the country and order its dissemination in their communities.
Finally, as a law firm we consider that it is advisable to change the term “owners” of cultural heritage, since in harmony with what is contemplated in the legislation of the Federal Copyright Law and the Federal Law for the Protection of Industrial Property, in any case, would be referring to them as “holders” and not “owners” of the rights over cultural heritage, their knowledge, and expressions.