Thefts at the British Museum prompt a series of new claims for restitution of pieces

Thefts at the British Museum prompt a series of new claims for restitution of pieces

After the organized and sustained theft for years of key pieces of the British museumand that its director, hartwig fischerresigned due to the impossibility of giving a quick and clear response, countries such as Greece, Nigeria and China and institutions have questioned the Museum’s ability to safeguard historical heritage and have requested the restitution of various pieces to their countries of origin.

The Greek Minister of Culture, Lina Mendoniwas the first official to warn that the robbery at the British Museum cast doubt on its “credibility”, by reiterating the claim for the reunification of the Parthenon marbles.

Hours after Fischer’s resignation, Abba Isa Tijanidirector of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments of Nigeria, seized on the credibility crisis of the British Museum and called for the return of the 16th-century Benin sculptures on Sky News: “It is shocking to hear that the countries and museums that have been telling us that the Benin bronzes would not be safe in Nigeria are being robbed.”.

China’s claim to the British Museum

China also joined the wave of complaints and asked it to return all Chinese cultural objects acquired through what Beijing considered “inappropriate channels.”

“We urge the British government to cooperate in legal and other procedures to facilitate the process, which will be a test and verification of Britain’s sincerity in cleaning up the colonial stain and making amends for its historical sins,” the government added in a text. published in the state newspaper Global Times.

It’s hard to trace exactly how China lost them to the British Museum, but most of the Chinese collections were certainly looted or stolen by Britain. when he created and then took advantage of the China crisis, or even directly stole from China,” the Chinese government maintains about why the pieces are in the British Museum.

In fact, the British Museum Act of 1963 currently prohibits the full return of artefacts.

Crucially, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on March 13, when asked about the Parthenon Marbles: “The UK has cared for the Elgin Marbles for generations. The British Museum’s collection is protected by law and we have no plans to change it.”

Given this, the British leader Bell Ribeiro-Addy, president of the multi-party parliamentary group on African reparations, argued that the 1963 law that prevents the return of objects such as the Parthenon marbles and Benin bronzes, on which Germany laid a precedent in May when he returned those he had to Nigeria.

The resignation of the director of the British Museum

On August 25, hartwig fischer announced his resignation from the institution, after discovering the thefts of his collections over several years, which revealed failures in the security system of the prestigious London institution.

Located in the center of London, the museum has among its collections pieces such as the Rosetta Stone (fragment of an Egyptian stele that made it possible to decipher hieroglyphics at the beginning of the 19th century) and the Parthenon Marbles and in recent days it has reached the media because he had fired one of his workers for being allegedly responsible for “stolen or damaged” objects.

The missing pieces include gold jewelry, semi-precious stones and crystals from collections spanning from the 15th century BC to the 19th century after the Christian era.

The London police accepted that they had carried out interrogations but that so far there had been no arrests.

Source: Ambito

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