Centuries-old cultural artifacts illegally smuggled out of Cambodia were welcomed on Friday in a ceremony led by Prime Minister Hun Sen, who thanked them for their return and called for efforts to retrieve such stolen treasures. and urged to try.
Many, if not all, of the items displayed in the government offices on Friday were looted from Cambodia during periods of war and instability, including in the 1970s, when the country was under the brutal rule of the communist Khmer Rouge. Through unscrupulous art dealers, they made their way into the hands of private collectors and museums around the world.
A statement from the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts described the returned artifacts as “priceless cultural heritage and the soul of generations of Khmer ancestors”.
Centuries-old Cambodian jewelery collection returned to Southeast Asian country
The statement credited the item’s return to “tremendous cooperation and support” from public and private institutions, national and international experts, and close ties with other countries through bilateral, multi-lateral and international institutions, including UNESCO, the United Nations cultural agency given.
It also highlighted cooperation between the Cambodian and US governments. Many of the items returned so far have come from the United States.
The returned items included important Hindu and Buddhist sculptures, as well as ancient jewelry from the once-mighty kingdom of Angkor.
Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen hints at stepping down when a new government is installed
In February, an impressive collection of jewelry was returned to Cambodia from the estate of Douglas Latchford, an antiquities collector and dealer who had been accused of buying and selling looted artifacts. The 77 pieces of jewelry included crowns, necklaces, bracelets, belts, earrings, and amulets. In 2019, US prosecutors indicted him on charges related to the theft of Cambodian antiquities and the alleged smuggling of loot. Latchford, who died in 2020, denied any involvement in the smuggling.
In remarks to an invited audience including US Ambassador W. Patrick Murphy, Hun Sen said some Cambodian sculptures were still missing and kept overseas, and appealed for their return in a spirit of goodwill. He said his government was determined to use all means, including negotiations and legal action, to recover the stolen artifacts.
Click here to get the Fox News app
“The United States joins the Cambodian people in celebrating the return of the looted artifacts to their rightful home in the Kingdom,” said a statement from the US Embassy.
“(asterisk) For 20 years the United States has worked with local partners, American educational institutions, and non-profit organizations to protect, preserve, and honor Cambodia’s rich cultural heritage,” it said. “Through the long-running US-Cambodia Cultural Property Agreement, the United States has facilitated the return of more than 100 priceless antiquities.”
We have detected that you are using extensions to block ads. Please support us by disabling these ads blocker.