Warning: looting of Mallawi National Museum
24 September 2013 - the Egyptian police successfully recovered 589 out of 1089 objects recorded in the inventory of the Malawi National Museum, in the Upper Egypt city of Minya.
11 to 16 September 2013 - the Director-General sent a mission of UNESCO experts to Egypt, who confirmed the looting and devastation suffered by the Mallawi National Museum.
August 2013 - UNESCO receives a report that the Mallawi National Museum has been looted and suffered extensive damage from the Egyptian Ministry of State for Antiquities. Thieves broke into the Mallawi Museum, burning and destroying 48 artifacts and stealing 1041 objects, including coins, jewels and statues dating from the beginning of the Egyptian history to the Islamic period. A few days later, the UNESCO Director-General publicly deplored the damage to cultural property in Egypt.
Inventory of the Mallawi National Museum in Egypt:
Capacity-Building in Egypt
Two projects, co-funded by the Federal Office for Culture of Switzerland and UNESCO, are being developed to help safeguard Egyptian heritage:
- Capacity building workshops designed to help develop the necessary preventative measures, such as ensuring inventories of cultural objects are up to date.
- Museum disaster preparedness and risk mitigation workshop to help develop risk preparedness and security management strategies for Egypt's museums.
Assessment of Situation in Egypt
3 to 13 May 2011 - UNESCO sent two experts, including a representative from Interpol, to assess the security measures taken to protect Egyptian museums, as well as archaeological sites in the country. The experts also provided advice on enhanced security measures to better protect the museums from being looted and sites from being illegally excavated in order to minimize the risks of illicit trafficking of Egyptian cultural property.
This mission was also an opportunity to collect information on cultural objects that have gone missing since the start of the revolution through meeting with Egyptian authorities and sites' visits. The stolen objects are included in Interpol Works of Art database.
21 to 25 March 2011 - UNESCO, with the assistance of its partner ICOM, sent a group of experts to Cairo. The special mission's objectives was to assess the needs of the Museum sector and to establish contact with the Egyptian authorities in order to continue the work on the protection of Egyptian cultural heritage.
Mobilization of experts and civil society
16 March 2011 - an emergency technical meeting presided by the UNESCO Director-General, was held at UNESCO Headquarters. The theme of the meeting was on the protection of cultural heritage in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia.
UNESCO helped mobilize the civilian population during the 2011 Egyptian revolution. The important role of the community in protecting cultural heritage during a time of social upheaval was highlighted by their determination in protecting Egyptian Museum in Cairo, and other sites of cultural significance across the country. Nevertheless, despite their efforts, many objects were looted, shedding light on the need to continue to strengthen community awareness on protecting and respecting cultural heritage.