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