The sad story of the young Ethiopian man


The sad story of the young Ethiopian man on the New Chapter program. As reports showed, ancient monuments and creations of African cultural heritage, as well as works that reflect the community’s identity have been looted or smuggled out of the continent.


Information suggests that more than 90 percent of ancient African artworks are found outside the continent, especially in Europe, with requests for the return of the confiscated property going unanswered for more than half a century.


UNESCO, Organization de la Francophonie, and the Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco on October 27, 2023, jointly with the theme “Cultural and creative industries and the restitution of Africa’s cultural heritage” held discussions to combat the issue.


Nezha Alaoui M’hammdi, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco to Ethiopia said at the event, “This roundtable and the international community’s renewed interest in combating the illicit trafficking of cultural property provide an opportunity to share some ideas”.


UNESCO’s 1970 Convention on the Prohibition of Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership urges governments to stop the purchase of illegally exported cultural objects in their museums, as well as the import of culture.


Cultural heritage resources in Africa have been illegally looted during wars and armed conflicts. For this display, there are 50,000 African items in the United States, 180,000 in Belgium, 75,000 in the German Ethnological Museum, 70,000 in France, 73,000 in the British Museum, and 66,000 in the Netherlands.


Rita Bissoonauth, Director of the UNESCO Liaison Office to the AU and ECA, at the discussion, stated, “The work of recovering African cultural heritage is not only the work of recovering art objects but also aims to preserve our history, values, and traditions and pass them on to future generations,” adding, “It allows our culture to be richer, more diverse and shine on the world.”

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