British government’s potential lack of response to UNESCO mediation request may result in legal action on behalf of Greece.

The British government may not meet the March deadline for responding to the UNESCO mediation request. As a result Andrew George MP will be filling an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons on Monday 9th March calling for the UK to respond to the mediation request and to take positive action for the return of Parthenon sculptures to Greece.

Andrew George MP for St Ives and Chair of Marbles Reunited

Andrew George MP for St Ives and Chair of Marbles Reunited

The UNESCO mediation process was initiated by Greece in the summer of 2013. Since then the British government has not given a formal response while representatives of the British museum have re-stated that there is no intention of returning the Parthenon Sculptures to Greece. In November of 2014, Neil MacGregor, the Director of the British Museum,  mirrored these sentiments in an interview when he stated that he did not believe the sculptures would ever be returned to Greece.

Read the full article from The Independent here.



on “British government’s potential lack of response to UNESCO mediation request may result in legal action on behalf of Greece.
8 Comments on “British government’s potential lack of response to UNESCO mediation request may result in legal action on behalf of Greece.
  1. Their is no doubt in my mind,that Britain should without further delay return all the ELGIN Marbles to there rightful home Greece!

    Their is no reason what so ever for the British Museum & British Government to continue to give nothing more, than embarrasing excuses for the retention of the marbles!

    Britain has no moral right at all to retain the items
    I can only think the old Colonial mindset is alive and kicking in tory circles….Still!

  2. No one who has had the privilege of visiting the New Parthénon Museum can be left in any doubt as to the necessity of returning the Parthénon marbles to Athens. There is no earthy reason for keeping them in London now.

  3. How magnificent would it be to see all of these carvings reunited at their true home in Greece?

    I really do not understand the attitude of the museum authorities to this exhibit. I don’t think it sets a precedent, especially if they are given back as a gift to the Greek people.

    The world has moved on since the early 1800s and we could all share the reunited architecture via the web – no need for us poor Northerners to flog down to London!

    • I appreciate your support but must really insist that the sculptures are best seen in person, though it is great that some of the items can be seen online. And if you’re going to dish out money it might as well be for a trip to Athens to see the sculptures housed in the new museum under the Parthenon’s watchful eye 🙂

  4. It is with heavy heart I recently a looked upon the many plaster casts
    in the National Acropolis Museum, within sight of the Acropolis itself.
    I left with a sense of sadness, shame and a desire to try and promote their return from the British Museum. I believe arguments about setting a precedent are irrelevant in this case, which is unique in terms of the scale of what was removed and in terms of our relationship with Greece.
    Walking the corridors of the BM and looking upon the seemingly endless line of marbles holds no comparison to the experience of seeing the actual building and scale of what was conceived and built by the ancient Greeks.
    Re-construction of many sites including the Acropolis is underway and with the new Museum in Athens we have an opportunity to “do the right thing” as I believe Lord Elgin did when he saved them from destruction.

    • Well put! If only Britain did the “right thing”. The best we can do is to let the British Museum and government know just how many of the citizens they represent don’t, in fact, feel represented at all when it comes to their continued refusal to return the Parthenon sculptures.

  5. The BBC has reported today (14/5) that Greece abandons its 30 years effort to take back the marbles that “lord” Elgin removed by physically cutting them from within a gigantic Parthenon frieze. In fact this report is both inaccurate, false and ethically naïve! Greece received a 100 page report advising them what to do in the case they would pursue legal action following an international judiciary process to claim the marbles owned “legally”.

    On one hand this in my view is a “practically wise” decision with phronesis (Aristotle), as Greece’s owning the marbles is an undisputable moral and cultural and historic fact. It is also true that when one of the world’s masterpieces in the history of art of the humanity has been destroyed brutally by being separated from its original composition and still held unethically, based on a “legalistic” claim by the management of the museum and the national support of UK government, following the same “legalistic” route to claim it back would be neither a virtuous nor a wise way to act.

    On the other hand, ruling out a legal battle may just prove more than ever (a) the respect Greece and Greeks abroad have for art and culture and their marbles in particular as Melina mercouri would say, (b) that they are not inspired by moral relativism but perhaps by a different normative philosophy (virtue ethics) and (c) that they know and trust the goodness of the British people and politicians and art historians and intellectuals to wilfully and freely return our marbles to be re united once and when they are ready to see this is simply the right thing to do, with no force.

    Dr. Kleio Akrivou
    University of Reading, U.K.

    • Here is where we are after 30 years of diplomacy: The British Museum deems itself the legal owner of the sculptures, The British government have rejected UNESCO mediation and the country’s Prime Minister and Secretary of State have adamantly declared that they are against reunification. The good will and benevolence of politicians, intellectuals and art historians aside, has any stone been left unturned with regards to the diplomatic route?

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