Carine Bachmann, the Director of the Federal Office of Culture (FOC),handed over a fragment of a statue of the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II to the Egyptian Embassy in Switzerland. The restitution is carried out in accordance with the implementation of the Federal Act on the Transfer of Cultural Property (TCCP).
The stone sculpture of the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II is part of a group statue in which the king is depicted sitting alongside various ancient Egyptian deities. The fragment was stolen from the temple complex of Ramses II in Abydos, Egypt, between the late 1980s and early 1990s. It subsequently went through various locations abroad before eventually being brought into Switzerland.
Since the import, export, and sale of stolen or plundered cultural property is in violation of the Federal Act on the Transfer of Cultural Property (TCCP), the object was definitively seized as part of a criminal proceeding in the canton of Geneva.
Egypt is heavily affected by looting and the destruction of archaeological sites, the range of endangered Egyptian artifacts includes items of daily life as well as objects of religious and ceremonial significance, such as burial goods, statues, and other architectural elements. Artifacts from all historical periods of the country are highly sought after, particularly those from the Pharaonic, Nubian, and Greco-Roman periods.
Switzerland and Egypt are contracting parties to the UNESCO Convention of 1970 on the Measures to Prohibit and Prevent the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. This restitution highlights the joint commitment of Switzerland and Egypt in combating illegal transfers of cultural property.
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