Recent restitution cases of cultural objects using the 1970 Convention

The 1970 UNESCO Convention and the laws which are subsequent to its implementation at the national level are useful for the National Authorities of the State Parties, that would like to return one or several cultural objects to another country.


© Government of Peru

Guatemala - Peru, November 2019

On 15 November 2019, Guatemala restituted to Peru a pre-Columbian child's huipil of Chancay culture. For more information (in spanish) click here.



© Embassy of Peru in France

France - Peru, June 2019

On 3 June 2019, France restituted to Peru three cultural properties looted from a pre-Columbian tomb. The objects were intercepted at the airport by French customs. For more information click here.




©Federal Office of Culture

Switzerland - Egypt, November 2018

Switzerland has returned 26 archaeological treasures to Egypt in line with its obligations under the 1970 UNESCO convention.  They date from between the 3rd millennium BC and the 4th century BC. The objects had been confiscated in the context of two criminal cases in cantons Lucerne and Valais.
For more information click here.



Canada - Jordan, November 2018

Canada returned to Jordan antiquities, some dating back to the third or fourth century CE and the Roman period. The event took place on 26 November 2018 at the Canadian Conservation Institute in Ottawa, Canada.
“Canada is pleased to return these significant heritage objects to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in keeping with our treaty obligations under the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the illicit traffic in cultural property.” Pablo Rodriguez, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism.
For more information click here.


© República de Colombia

United States – Colombia, October 2018

The United States restituted to Colombia 40 pre-Columbian pieces seized after a long-term intelligence work by the FBI in Indiana. This restitution is the result of the application of the Memorandum of Understanding between Colombia and the United States, which objectives are in line with those set out in the 1970 Convention.
For more information click here.



© The Kathmandu Post

USA - Nepal, April 2018

Two ancient idols that were stolen from the country more than 30 years ago before turning up in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York were returned. Madhu Marasini, Nepal’s consul general in New York, handed over the stolen images of Uma Maheshwor and Buddha to the official of Department of Archaeology (DoA) in Kathmandu. Earlier on March 5, the government had signed an agreement with the museum for the handover of the idols that rightfully belong to Nepal.
For more information click here.


© Oficina de Prensa MCJ

Venezuela - Costa Rica, January 2018

The National Museum of Costa Rica (MNCR) is exhibiting 196 recovered pre-Columbian artifacts after they were decommissioned in Venezuela between 2010 and 2014 and brought back to the Central American country by sea.
For more information click here.


© Ministère de l'Europe et des Affaires étrangères

France - Egypt, October 2017

On 26 October, France has restituted to Egypt eight archaeological pieces seized by the French customs in January 2010.
For more information click here.


© Department of Canadian Heritage

Canada - Bulgaria, January 2016
On January 18, 2016 the Government of Canada formally returned an antique sword and dagger to the Government of the Republic of Bulgaria at the Canadian Conservation Institute in Ottawa. The return was made in accordance with Canada’s obligations under the 1970 UNESCO Convention to which Bulgaria is also a signatory. The sword, a 19th century curved yatagan with unusual markings, and the Cretan-style dagger were intercepted by Canada’s customs officials upon arrival in Canada. The import was assessed by the Department of Canadian Heritage under the Cultural Property Export and Import Act and a Federal Court determined that the antiquity was illegally imported into Canada. The return marks the 21st return by Canada to a fellow State Party to the 1970 Convention, and the third return of cultural property to Bulgaria. 

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