Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by Members of the House of People's Representatives of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

  The Federal Government of Ethiopia is happy to learn that the Culture, Media and Sport Committee has arranged oral evidence sessions as part of its inquiry into Cultural Property: Return and Illicit Trade. This Committee has a great opportunity to correct the injustices of the past which still hangs as a dark cloud in the relationship between our two nations.

  We refer to the British looting of Maqdala in 1868 involving the seizure of possession of the church of Madhane Alem (or Saviour of the world). It is an act of sacrilege that shook Ethiopians of the day and continues to have painful memories for this generation, more so when one learns that this loot is to be found scattered all over the UK, most for public display.

  It is our strong belief that the prime objective should be the restitution of our national heritage which has been acquired by illicit means and removed from our country. We therefore feel that our objective is within the remit of your Committee to address. We hope sincerely that your Committee will use this power to take the necessary actions to ensure that Ethiopia's case is not forgotten.

  We appeal to your good office to go the extra mile to accommodate our call for justice even if this means extending the deadline for hearings which we believe is 10 June 2000. There is an excellent opportunity to rectify this great injustice and we have every reason to hope that your Committee will be able to address this longstanding issue.

June 2000

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