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British Parliament Motion calling for the Return of the Parthenon Sculptures

May 4, 2006

The International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures today welcomed the tabling of a motion in the British House of Commons calling for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures from London to Athens.

The Early Day Motion has been tabled by Eddie O'Hara, M.P. on May 3, 2006. Eddie O'Hara has been an active and dedicated campaigner for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures for many years.

The motion reads;

That this House welcomes the establishment of the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, a federation of national associations from around the world which share the goal of reuniting the world's surviving Parthenon sculptures in the new Acropolis Museum in Athens; agrees that the Parthenon is one of the world's finest surviving ancient monuments as attested by its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site; further agrees that over 100 pieces of the sculptures and architectural elements of the Parthenon currently on display in the Duveen Gallery of the British Museum are exhibited in a spurious configuration divorced from their proper architectural and compositional context; further agrees that the continued insistence of the British Museum that the sculptures should remain in London is at odds with British and world public opinion which overwhelmingly supports the reunification of the surviving Parthenon sculptures in Athens, and wholly counter to the fast growing spirit of international co-operation over the location and display of disputed museum objects; notes that more people now visit the Acropolis than the Duveen Gallery; and joins with the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon sculptures in calling upon the British Museum and the Government to respond to the Greek government's offer of collaboration between the two museums for the reunification of the Parthenon sculptures and their ultimate display in the new Acropolis Museum, thus making them available to the maximum number of people in their optimum artistic context.

Previous motions and surveys suggest overwhelming support in the House of Commons for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures to Athens. In addition to support for earlier motions tabled by Eddie O'Hara, The Economist magazine published a poll in May 2000, which revealed that 66% of Members of the House of Commons said they would vote for the Marbles to be returned.

Polls also reveal overwhelming British public support for the return of the Sculptures. A poll in 2004 was consistent with all earlier surveys and showed that 73% said Britain should allow the sculptures to be reunited with the other surviving sculptures in Athens


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