The Chairman of the IARPS, David Hill, has addressed a letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron urging him to respond to the UNESCO mediation process which was initiated by the Greek government last year. As yet, there has been no official response from the British side.
The Rt. Hon David Cameron MP
Dear Prime Minister
I am writing to you as Chairman of the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures to urge the British Government and the British Museum to agree to a renewed offer by UNESCO to mediate the issue of the Parthenon Sculptures currently held in the British Museum.
The International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures has volunteer committees in sixteen countries that are dedicated to the return of the Parthenon Sculptures from London to be reunited with the other surviving sculptures in Athens. (www.parthenoninternational.org)
UNESCO first offered to convene mediation of this issue following a request from Greece in July 2013. To date Britain has not responded to the UNESCO proposal.
At a recent meeting of the relevant UNESCO committee dealing with restitution of cultural property in Paris on 1 and 2 October 2014, UNESCO again invited Britain to agree to mediation with Greece on the matter. Britain has also been asked to respond to the proposal for mediation within six months.
By refusing to seriously discuss this issue the British Government and British Museum are increasingly out of step with widespread public and professional opinion in the UK and around the world. For well over a decade every public opinion poll conducted in the UK shows that an overwhelming majority of the British public support the return of the Parthenon Sculptures to Greece. These poll results are consistent with an earlier survey conducted by the well-respected British Museums Association which revealed that 97% of its members also support restitution of cultural property in certain circumstances. Further, you should note that the Museums Association policy relating to repatriation of cultural property calls on Museums to ‘deal sensitively and promptly with requests for repatriation both within the UK and from abroad’.
By agreeing to the proposed UNESCO mediation, the British Government and the British Museum would enable the matter to be resolved in a spirit of cooperation and goodwill and in a way that might benefit both sides as well as all humanity.
I would be happy to come to London to discuss this matter with you.
Chairman, International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures