Sri Lanka focusing on its artefacts abroad
May 28, 2012
Against the backdrop of the rapid disappearance of artefacts, Sri Lanka is going to make fresh efforts to bring back various artefacts taken by the colonial rulers during different eras in history, Minister Jagath Balasuriya said yesterday. There are such Sri Lankan artefacts kept in different museums in England, Portugal and the Netherlands - the countries that colonized Sri Lanka in history.

Minister Balasuriya told the Daily Mirror yesterday that some attempts had been taken in the past to request the authorities of these countries to hand over the artefacts taken from Sri Lanka, but the response was not positive.

"We are going to make renewed attempts this time. Firstly, we will ask the authorities of those countries to give us details about the artefacts taken from Sri Lanka. There are important artefacts kept in Museums in London, Lisbon and Hague- the capitals of the three countries that colonized Sri Lanka," he said. Action is to be initiated through Sri Lanka's diplomatic missions in these three countries.

"Once the information is secured, we will ask them to hand over our artefacts back to us," he said.

During the time of last parliament, Dinesh Gunawardane, in his capacity of Sacred Area Development Minister, took initiatives in this regard. However, with the change of his ministerial portfolios, he could not pursue action on the matter.

In Sri Lanka, there are around 250,000 places of archaeological value. Also, Sri Lanka is one among ten countries in the world with a rich archeological heritage. The Minister said various concerned persons had requested him to make a fresh attempt to retake those artefacts from former colonial rulers.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka