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


Memorandum submitted by the Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt

  I write with reference to your Committee's inquiry, entitled "Cultural Property: Return and Illicit Trade".

  You are aware that the illegal trade, export and smuggling of Egyptian antiquities for sale abroad are causing substantial and irrevocable damage to Egypt's cultural heritage. We regard the countering of this illicit trade as an absolute priority. For this we are working closely with Scotland Yard and the British Museum to identify miscreants and pursue cases as they come to our attention. We have had some success recently, but unfortunately the legal measures currently available to us in the UK are very limited. Attached (not printed) is a typical case study of an incident that took place last week. It reflects the importance of your efforts and deliberations of your Committee.

  I would be grateful if in its deliberations and recommendations your Committee would take into account our appeal that the UK ratifies the UNESCO Convention of 1970. Also, legislation should be, urgently, introduced to make it a criminal offence, both to import and to deal in cultural property, which has been illegally exported (smuggled) from its country of origin.

  I thank you for your consideration and look forward to seeing your Committee's final report.

June 2000

previous page contents

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2000
Prepared 25 July 2000