The International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures is an association of various national committees with the shared goal of "The reunification of all the surviving Parthenon Sculptures in the New Acropolis Museum in Athens"
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World-wide pressure on the British Government and the British Museum is growing

New Zealand is playing its part in the world-wide campaign which is building up to reunify the Parthenon (Elgin) Marbles back in Athens. Reunifying the Marble Sculptures at the place from where they were effectively looted will right one of history’s notable injustices.
 
On 24 May 2007 the Parliament of New Zealand unanimously passed a most significant motion which reads:

"That this House joins its voice to that of other countries throughout the world and urges the British Government to support the return of the Parthenon (Elgin) marbles to Greece, stressing the need for the collections of marbles in different locations to be reunited so the world can see them in their original context in relation to the Temple of Parthenon as an act of respect to one of the most significant monuments of western heritage."
 
This motion will exhibit to the British Parliament that the Parthenon Marbles issue is very much alive and will continue until the issue is resolved between the British and Greek Governments.

The Parthenon Sculptures — A New Deal?

The American Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures is organising a lecture in Washington on the Parthenon Sculptures.

THE AMERICAN COMMITTEE FOR THE REUNIFICATION OF THE PARTHENON SCULPTURES, INC.

Presents Prof ANTHONY SNODGRASS Chairman of the British Committee for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles in a talk entitled:
The Parthenon Sculptures — A New Deal?
Dr. Snodgrass is Lawrence Professor Emeritus of Classical Archaeology at the University of Cambridge and a world renowned  authority of the Parthenon reunification movement.

and

MICHAEL J. REPPAS, Esq. President and Legal Advisor American Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures in a talk entitled:
Returning Cultural Artifacts Illicitly Removed From Their Country of Origin

Thursday, April 10, 2008, at 8:00 pm.

Center for Hellenic Studies, 3100 Whitehaven Street, NW, Washington DC., 20008

Please RSVP at 202-745-4441
Seating will be limited to first 60 people to respond
Light reception will follow

The American Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, Inc.
7850 N.W. 146th Street
Suite 301
Miami Lakes, FL
33016

Tel (305) 822-8422
Fax (305) 822-3155
www.parthenonsculpturesusa.org

You can read the original press release here.

Cambridge University debates the Elgin Marbles

David Hill, the chair of the International Association, spoke recently alongside Anthony Snodgrass of the British Committee, at a successful debate at the Cambridge Union.

 

Cambridge debates Elgin Marbles
By Europe correspondent Jane Hutcheon
Posted Sun Feb 24, 2008 1:32pm AEDT

Cambridge University has debated the contentious issue of returning the Parthenon Sculptures, otherwise known as the Elgin Marbles, to Greece.

The statues were removed in the early 1800s by Britain's ambassador to Athens, Lord Elgin.

Until now, Britain has declined to return the relics, despite public opinion supporting the move.

Chairing the debate at Cambridge was the president of the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, David Hill.

He says the Association won the debate 114 to 46.

"Which was a really delightful result, but not altogether that surprising because despite the conservative nature of the university," he said.

"That sort of outcome's pretty consistent with all of the evidence of public opinion in Britain about the return of the Parthenon Sculptures."

The British Museum says keeping the marbles in the UK has afforded them significant protection over the years, but Mr Hill rejects that claim.

"It's an offensive argument that the British Museum have pushed - that Elgin saved the marbles," he said.

"It's utter nonsense. Elgin only took half the collection; the other half remained on the Parthenon. Particularly, the famous west frieze of the Parthenon.

"And if you now compare the condition of the west frieze, which remained in Athens, with the British Museum's collection that they got from Elgin, the material in Greece is in better condition."

'Colonial booty'

Mr Hill says the issue of repatriating the marbles affects relations between the UK and Greece.

"The Greeks are very fractious people," he said.

"[But] they all agree on this; that the marbles should go back. But at the same time, they have a traditional friendship with Britain and they don't want to prejudice that friendship."

He says Australia can understand how the Greeks feel.

"It's interesting that the level of awareness about the Parthenon Sculptures is probably higher in Australia than any other country in the world except Britain and Greece," he said.

"The British keeping hold of their colonial booty really offends the Australian sense of fairness."

Mr Hill says Australia has led the way in campaigning for the return of national artefacts. He says he thinks the British Museum will only return the marbles when the British Government tells the Museum to send them back.

"Something similar has happened involving Australia," he said.

"Eight years ago, [former Australian prime minister] John Howard and [former British prime minister] Tony Blair issued a statement about the desirability of the British Museum's returning sacred Aboriginal human remains.

"Now the British Museum was totally opposed to that, but because of the public commitment of the British Government, after several years of bureaucratic process, in 2006 the British Museum returned the first of the human remains to Tasmania."

You can read the original article on the ABC's website 

Letter to the Prime Minister

David Hill, chair of the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, has recently written to Gordon Brown, the British Prime Minister, to appraise him on the organisation's views on the issue.
 
Copies of this letter were also sent to members of his Cabinet, Members of the Culture Media & Sport Select Committee & to other relevant politicians. 
 
12 November 2007
 
Rt Hon Gordon Brown
Prime Minister
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
UNITED KINGDOM

Dear Prime Minister
 
I am writing to appraise you of the widespread and growing support around the world for the Parthenon sculptures currently held in the British Museum to be returned to Greece.
There are now committees in 14 countries that have been formed solely for the purpose of promoting the return of the sculptures that were taken by Lord Elgin from Athens in the early 1800’s. In 2005 the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures was formed and now has members from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Cyprus, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro, Sweden, Spain and the United States of America.
 
In recent years a number of world leaders have publicly stated their support for the return of the sculptures, including the then President of the United States of America, the President of Russia and the Premier of China. The Prime Ministers, leaders and parliaments of a number of Commonwealth countries have also registered their support, including Australia, New Zealand and Canada, as have a number of European countries.
We note that the attitude of the British public is now similar to world opinion on this issue. Over the past ten years a variety of public opinion polls and surveys in Britain have indicated a strong and growing majority of people also support the return of the sculptures.
 
We believe the completion of the magnificent new Acropolis Museum in Athens now provides an excellent opportunity for the Parthenon sculptures to be returned. The museum has been designed to allow all of the surviving sculptures that are currently split between London and Athens to be reunited and presented in their original positions and configuration. This is not possible in the Duveen Gallery of the British Museum where the restricted space does not allow the collection to be properly exhibited – and where fewer people actually see the exhibits than now visit the Acropolis in Athens each year.
 
The current British Museum argument that different pieces of the Parthenon sculptures should be seen in a variety of different museums means that the head of a sculptured piece might be seen in one place, while the arms, or legs, or body of the same piece might be seen in another. This strange policy is totally at odds with the advice given to a House of Commons inquiry in June 2000 when the British Museum argued that ideally the Parthenon collection should be rejoined.
 
By not agreeing to return the sculptures the British Museum is increasingly out of step with modern museum practice around the world. No one would argue that all the objects in museums should be repatriated to their country of origin but there is now almost universal acceptance of the principle that items of special significance should be returned. In 1997 a poll of members of the British Museums Association revealed that 97% of their members supported the repatriation of cultural property in certain circumstances.
 
 The British Government should be commended for having recently initiated the return of indigenous human remains to their original communities. We now look to the British Government to take the initiative to ensure the wonderful Parthenon sculptures are returned to Athens where they can be best exhibited for the benefit of all humanity. Such action by the British Government on this issue would send a strong message of moral leadership to the world.
 
The International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures would be prepared to provide any assistance in facilitating a positive solution in this matter and I would be happy to meet and discuss this issue with you further.

Yours sincerely
 
David Hill
Chairman

Letter to the Tustees of the British Museum

David Hill, chair of the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, has recently written to the trustees of the British Museum, to appraise them on the organisation's views on the issue.
 
 
4 November 2007

Baroness Kennedy
Trustee
The British Museum
Great Russell Street
London WC1B 3DG

Dear Baroness Kennedy

I am writing to appraise you of the widespread and growing support around the world for the Parthenon sculptures currently held in the British Museum to be returned to Greece.

There are now committees in 14 countries that have been formed solely for the purpose of promoting the return of the sculptures that were taken by Lord Elgin from Athens in the early 1800’s. In 2005 the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures was formed and now has members from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Cyprus, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro, Sweden, Spain and the United States of America.

In recent years a number of world leaders have publicly stated their support for the return of the sculptures, including the then President of the United States of America, the President of Russia and the Premier of China. The Prime Ministers, leaders and parliaments of a number of Commonwealth countries have also registered their support, including Australia, New Zealand and Canada, as have a number of European countries.

We note that the attitude of the British public is now similar to world opinion on this issue. Over the past ten years a variety of public opinion polls and surveys in Britain have indicated a strong and growing majority of people also support the return of the sculptures.

We believe the completion of the magnificent new Acropolis Museum in Athens now provides an excellent opportunity for the Parthenon sculptures to be returned. The museum has been designed to allow all of the surviving sculptures that are currently split between London and Athens to be reunited and presented in their original positions and configuration. This is not possible in the Duveen Gallery of the British Museum where the restricted space does not allow the collection to be properly exhibited – and where fewer people actually see the exhibits than now visit the Acropolis in Athens each year.

The current British Museum argument that different pieces of the Parthenon sculptures should be seen in a variety of different museums means that the head of a sculptured piece might be seen in one place, while the arms, or legs, or body of the same piece might be seen in another. This strange policy is totally at odds with the advice given to a House of Commons inquiry in June 2000 when the British Museum argued that ideally the Parthenon collection should be rejoined.

By not agreeing to return the sculptures the British Museum is increasingly out of step with modern museum practice around the world. No one would argue that all the objects in museums should be repatriated to their country of origin but there is now almost universal acceptance of the principle that items of special significance should be returned. In 1997 a poll of members of the British Museums Association revealed that 97% of their members supported the repatriation of cultural property in certain circumstances.

The British Museum should be commended for recently agreeing to return indigenous human remains to their original communities. We now look to the museum to take the initiative to ensure the wonderful Parthenon sculptures are returned to Athens where all they can be best exhibited for the maximum benefit of all humanity.

We would be happy to meet and discuss this issue with you.

Yours sincerely

David Hill
Chairman