Despite the fact that the intergovernmental commission of UNESCO recently voted unanimously for the return of the Greek Parthenon sculptures from the United Kingdom to their native country, the UK summarily rejected this proposed sequence of events, according to new reports. Despite ongoing conversations regarding the importance of returning ancient artefacts to the countries from which they came, the UK argues that specific Greek artefacts currently in the British Museum were obtained legally; therefore, the country argues that it has no responsibility make the sculptures. The British Museum has kept the sculptures in question within the institution for almost 200 years.
Additionally, despite claims that the objects were stolen, the British Museum has maintained the position that the sculptures were legally acquired by Lord Elgin, the British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire. The museum claims that Elgin was granted a permit between 1801 and 1805 who authorized him to remove a large number of sculptures from the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, the temple of Athena Nike and the Propylaea. Additionally, the British Museum website states that a special parliamentary committee in 1816 found Elgin’s actions be completely legal.
“We do not agree with the Committee’s decision adopted in the closing minutes of the session and are raising factual and procedural issues with UNESCO,” a UK government spokesperson said . Recount Artnet news. “Our position is clear: the Parthenon sculptures were acquired legally in accordance with the law of the time. The British Museum operates at arm’s length from government and free from political interference. All decisions relating to the collections are made by the administrators of the Museum.
The British Museum has also recently responded to requests from artists and government officials in Nigeria who would very much like to see the return of the bronzes from Benin; these priceless cultural objects have also been housed in the UK for a long time. All over the world, several different countries have more readily accepted to return the Benin Bronzes in their possession; Germany, for example, has stepped up talks to return the Benin Bronzes to the country in Nigeria.