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How is your country dealing with the return of stolen artifacts? 

Hosted by: Amal Mekki

Switzerland recently returned three significant Mesopotamian cultural artifacts that had been illegally imported from Iraq. However, many stolen items remain in the Alpine country.  

Interior Minister Elisabeth Baume-Schneider said Switzerland is collaborating with various countries to negotiate further restitutions. 

The question of how Western countries should address contentious legacies is now widely debated, so we want to hear from you. What’s the situation like in your country? How are museums and governments handling the process of returning, or recovering, looted artifacts? Do you think countries have a duty to return stolen artifacts? 

Join our debate and let us know. 

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Embassy of Iraq in bern
Embassy of Iraq in bern
The following contribution has been automatically translated from AR.

Thank you very much to the Swiss authorities for returning valuable artifacts to Iraq last month. This generous step reflects your firm commitment to protecting world cultural heritage and promoting good relations between our two countries.

The recovery of these artifacts is not only the return of property, but the restoration of an important part of our history and cultural identity. This initiative has proven that international cooperation can achieve outstanding results in the preservation of human heritage.

We thank you for this noble effort and look forward to promoting continued cooperation between our two countries in the fields of culture and heritage.

Much appreciation and respect
Embassy of the Republic of Iraq/Berne

جزيل الشكر والامتنان للسلطات السويسرية على إعادة القطع الأثرية القيمة إلى العراق الشهر الماضي. هذه الخطوة الكريمة تعكس التزامكم الثابت بحماية التراث الثقافي العالمي وتعزيز العلاقات الطيبة بين بلدينا.

إن استعادة هذه القطع الأثرية ليست فقط عملية إعادة ممتلكات، بل هي استعادة لجزء مهم من تاريخنا وهويتنا الثقافية. لقد أثبتت هذه المبادرة أن التعاون الدولي يمكن أن يحقق نتائج متميزة في الحفاظ على التراث الإنساني.

نشكركم على هذا الجهد النبيل ونتطلع إلى تعزيز التعاون المستمر بين بلدينا في مجالات الثقافة والتراث.

وافر التقدير والاحترام
سفارة جمهورية العراق/ بيرن

Amal Mekki
Amal Mekki SWI SWISSINFO.CH
The following contribution has been automatically translated from AR.
@Embassy of Iraq in bern

Thank you very much for your valuable comment.
We are always happy to know and follow up on Iraq's ongoing efforts to recover its looted monuments.
With all due respect,
Amal Al-Makki

شكرًا جزيلاً على تعليقكم القيّم.
يسعدنا دائمًا معرفة ومتابعة جهود العراق المستمرّة في استعادة آثاره المنهوبة.
كلّ التقدير والاحترام،
أمل المكي

Embassy of Iraq in bern
Embassy of Iraq in bern
The following contribution has been automatically translated from AR.

Iraq is working to return looted artifacts through several main methods:

1. International cooperation: Iraq cooperates with countries and international organizations such as UNESCO to recover looted artifacts. This is done through international agreements and treaties aimed at combating the smuggling of antiquities and returning them to their countries of origin.
2. Diplomatic negotiations: the Iraqi government uses diplomatic channels to negotiate with countries that own Iraqi artifacts. In some cases, agreements are reached to recover antiquities without the need for lengthy legal procedures.
3. Legal procedures: Iraq resorts to international and national courts to prosecute individuals or institutions that own looted artifacts.
4. Raising awareness of the international community: Iraq is working to raise awareness of the importance of protecting world cultural heritage and preventing illegal trade in antiquities. This includes participating in global conferences and seminars and disseminating information about stolen antiquities.
5. Establishment of specialized committees: The Iraqi government has set up specialized committees and institutions to search for and recover looted monuments. These committees work in coordination with the security authorities and customs to track antiquities and prevent their smuggling
6. Cooperation with museums and academic institutions: Cooperation is made with museums and academic institutions that may have Iraqi artifacts by negotiating their return or holding joint exhibitions highlighting Iraq's cultural heritage while ensuring the return of the pieces in the end.

Through these integrated efforts, Iraq has been able to recover many valuable artifacts that were looted during different periods of its history. Embassy of the Republic of Iraq/Bern

يعمل العراق على إعادة القطع الأثرية المنهوبة من خلال عدة طرق رئيسية:

1- التعاون الدولي: العراق يتعاون مع الدول والمنظمات الدولية مثل اليونسكو لاستعادة القطع الأثرية المنهوبة. يتم ذلك من خلال الاتفاقيات والمعاهدات الدولية التي تهدف إلى مكافحة تهريب الآثار وإعادتها إلى بلدانها الأصلية.
2- المفاوضات الدبلوماسية: الحكومة العراقية تستخدم القنوات الدبلوماسية للتفاوض مع الدول التي بحوزتها القطع الأثرية العراقية، في بعض الحالات، يتم الوصول إلى اتفاقيات لاستعادة الآثار بدون الحاجة إلى الإجراءات القانونية المطولة.
3- الإجراءات القانونية: العراق يلجأ إلى المحاكم الدولية والوطنية لمقاضاة الأفراد أو المؤسسات التي تمتلك قطعاً أثرية منهوبة.
4- توعية المجتمع الدولي: العراق يعمل على زيادة الوعي بأهمية حماية التراث الثقافي العالمي ومنع التجارة غير القانونية بالآثار. هذا يتضمن المشاركة في المؤتمرات والندوات العالمية ونشر المعلومات حول الآثار المسروقة.
5- تأسيس لجان مختصة: الحكومة العراقية أنشأت لجاناً ومؤسسات مختصة تتولى مهمة البحث عن الآثار المنهوبة واستعادتها. هذه اللجان تعمل بالتنسيق مع الجهات الأمنية والجمارك لتتبع الآثار ومنع تهريبها
6- التعاون مع المتاحف والمؤسسات الأكاديمية: يتم التعاون مع المتاحف والمؤسسات الأكاديمية التي قد تكون لديها قطع أثرية عراقية، وذلك من خلال التفاوض لاستعادتها أو إقامة معارض مشتركة تبرز التراث الثقافي العراقي مع ضمان عودة القطع في نهاية المطاف.

من خلال هذه الجهود المتكاملة، تمكن العراق من استعادة العديد من القطع الأثرية القيمة التي تم نهبها خلال الفترات المختلفة من تاريخه. سفارة جمهورية العراق/بيرن

Amal Mekki
Amal Mekki SWI SWISSINFO.CH
The following contribution has been automatically translated from AR.
@Embassy of Iraq in bern

Thank you very much, Embassy of the Republic of Iraq in Berne, for this comprehensive and valuable information about your country's efforts to recover looted artifacts.
It is clear that great and dedicated efforts are being made in this field, at the international and local levels, to ensure the return of cultural heritage to its place of origin.
We are always looking forward to receiving updates about the successes you have achieved and will achieve in this regard, and to following up the return of Iraqi monuments by the various countries and parties concerned.
Greetings

شكرًا جزيلاً، سفارة جمهورية العراق في برن، على هذه المعلومات الشاملة والقيّمة حول جهود بلدكم في استعادة القطع الأثرية المنهوبة.
من الواضح أنّ هناك جهودًا كبيرةً ومتفانية تُبذل في هذا المجال، على المستويين الدولي والمحلّي، لضمان عودة التراث الثقافي إلى موطنه الأصلي.
نتطلّع دائمًا إلى معرفة المستجدّات حول النجاحات التي حقّقتموها وستحقّقونها على هذا الصعيد، وإلى متابعة عودة الأثار العراقية من قبل الدول والجهات المختلفة المعنيّة.
تحيّاتنا.

Rafiq Tschannen
Rafiq Tschannen

I think we all heard the sentence that the Pyramids in Egypt remain there because they were too large to be stolen and put into a British Museum.

Amal Mekki
Amal Mekki SWI SWISSINFO.CH
@Rafiq Tschannen

Thank you for your comment!
The statement about the pyramids being too large to be stolen is indeed a poignant reminder of the many cultural treasures taken from their countries of origin.

Could you share your thoughts on how your country is addressing the issue of stolen artifacts? Are there any particular successes or challenges you've observed?

Your perspective would be valuable to our discussion.

Peter Ern
Peter Ern
The following contribution has been automatically translated from DE.

In my country, stolen items are always returned.

In meinem Land werden gestohlene Gegenstände immer wieder zurückgegeben.

Rafiq Tschannen
Rafiq Tschannen
@Peter Ern

Did you visit your museums recently? Please check all foreign items and ask how they got there.

Amal Mekki
Amal Mekki SWI SWISSINFO.CH
@Peter Ern

Thank you for sharing, Peter Ern!
It's great to hear that your country has a strong commitment to returning stolen items.

Could you provide more specific examples of successful repatriation efforts in your country?
Your insights could greatly contribute to our discussion on how different nations handle the return of cultural artifacts.

Giu Siii
Giu Siii SWI SWISSINFO.CH
The following contribution has been automatically translated from DE.

That is an interesting question

Das ist eine interessante Frage

Amal Mekki
Amal Mekki SWI SWISSINFO.CH
@Giu Siii

Thank you, Giu Siii ! It is indeed an interesting and important topic.

I'd love to hear more about how your country is handling the return of stolen artifacts.

Can you share any specific policies, initiatives, or recent examples?

InMelki
InMelki
The following contribution has been automatically translated from AR.

In 2020, Algeria succeeded in recovering the skulls and remains of several Algerian resistance fighters from France. However, to this day, it is still struggling to return dozens of looted monuments and artifacts that are displayed in museums around the world.
We Algerians especially hope to return the Baba Marzouk cannon from France, which is located in one of the squares of the city of Brest. It is one of the archaeological symbols of the Ottoman era.

عام 2020 نجحت الجزائر في استرجاع جماجم ورفات عدّة مقاومين جزائريين من فرنسا. لكنها ما تزال إلى اليوم تناضل من أجل إعادة عشرات الآثار والتحف المنهوبة والتي تعرض في متاحف العالم.
نحن الجزائريين، نأمل خاصة في إعادة مدفع بابا مرزوق من فرنسا، المنتصب في أحد ساحات مدينة براست، فهو أحد الرموز الأثرية من الحقبة العثمانية.

Amal Mekki
Amal Mekki SWI SWISSINFO.CH
The following contribution has been automatically translated from AR.
@InMelki

Thank you very much for interacting and sharing your country's experience with the topic. I will learn more about the looted monuments of Algeria. I hope to hear news from you about the fate of the “Baba Marzouk” cannon.

شكرًا جزيلاً لتفاعلك ومشاركتك تجربة بلدك مع الموضوع. سأعمل على التعرّف أكثر على آثار الجزائر المنهوبة، وآمل أن نسمع أخبارًا منك حول مصير مدفع "بابا مرزوق".

Amal Mekki
Amal Mekki SWI SWISSINFO.CH
The following contribution has been automatically translated from AR.
@InMelki

Thanks for your input and for sharing your country's experience on the topic. I will work on learning more about the loot antiques of Algeria and hope to hear from you regarding the fate of the “Baba Marzouk” cannon.

Thank you very much for interacting and sharing your country's experience with the topic. I will learn more about the looted monuments of Algeria. I hope to hear news from you about the fate of the “Baba Marzouk” cannon.

Thanks for your input and for sharing your country's experience on the topic. I will work on learning more about the looted antiquities of Algeria and hope to hear from you regarding the fate of the "Baba Marzouk" cannon.

شكرًا جزيلاً لتفاعلك ومشاركتك تجربة بلدك مع الموضوع. سأعمل على التعرّف أكثر على آثار الجزائر المنهوبة، وآمل أن نسمع أخبارًا منك حول مصير مدفع "بابا مرزوق".

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