23rd session of the Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property ICPRCP


The presentation of the Hellenic Republic on the Parthenon Sculptures at this session is outstanding. The presenters were Dr Artemis Papathanassiou and Nikolaos Stampolidis, Director of the Acropolis Museum

Dr Artemis Papathanassiou introduces the presentation. The segment addressing the issue of reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures begins at which begins at 03:19:55.

This is an excellent coverage of the issue of reunification of the Parthenon Marbles.

The UK reply begins at 03:38:34. It is quite short and demonstrates several major flaws, perhapsd even absurd statements such as these:

United Kingdom of Britain and Ireland’s (UK) Reply

The UK presentation begins with thisn untruth:

“the UK government does not own the Parthenon sculptures they were lawfully acquired under the laws pertaining at the time and legally owned by the trustees of the British Museum which is independent of government”

It then continues with the assertion that in the UK,

“unlike a number of other countries, they are not run or owned by the state. Museums are charter institutions run for the benefit of the public, the global public and are independent of the government and responsibility for each museum lies with the trustees . . .”

Now follows a contradiction. Having claimed that the British Museum is independent of government the speaker says:

“. . . the British Museum together with other national museums is prevented by law from de-accessioning objects in their collection that is removing them except in certain circumstances”

The truth is that the British Museum derives its right to operate through an Act of Parliament, specifically The British Museum Act 1963. This insistence thast it is indepent of government is a thinly disguised sleight of hand.

Then to compound the attempt at deception the speaker continues with this assertion.

“It is not for the . . UK Govt to enter into discussions on the future of the Parthenon Sculptures with the Greek Govt but I’m very keen to reiterate the . . UK Govt support for the position of the museum’s trustees & together . . . we are willing & happy to participate. . .”

What follows is a discussion with delegates from numerous countries expressing incredulity at the UK’s position, and concludes with closing statements from both Greece and the UK

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