Lanka appeals for priceless artifacts abroad
Feb 22, 2010
Urban Development and Sacred Area Development Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said that Sri Lanka would officially appeal to a number of museums in several countries as well as private collectors to return cultural and religious artifacts and statues spirited away from the country.

He said that the decision had been made after recommendations by a special Cabinet approved committee of scholars who handed over their report last week.

Stocks of Lankan artifacts were seized by the Portuguese, British and Dutch during the days of colonialism.

The committee in its study has found that a number of historical and precious Sri Lankan artifacts are on display in museums in some countries and Sri Lankans who are interested in research, studies and viewing them are unable to do so as they belong to those countries legally, he said.

Minister Gunawardena said that even the Asgiriya and Malwatta Mahanayakas had asked him whether the government would be able to bring back the artifacts kept in foreign museums.

Minister Gunawardena said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had expressed his desire to recover the archeological treasures that belonged to Sri Lanka and diplomatic ties would be used to recover the country’s archaeological wealth.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) would help Sri Lanka bring back the artifacts, the Minister said.

Courtesy: Lanka Puvath