On Tuesday 15th September, David Burrowes MP launched the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cultural Heritage. A cross-party quorum of MPs supported the group and elected David as Co-Chair alongside Lord Colin Renfrew of Kaimsthron, author of Loot Legitimacy and Ownership.
The group will seek to raise awareness of the devastating impact that the destruction of cultural heritage has on the dignity of human beings. ‘Walk of Truth’, a charity which pioneers work in the field of protecting cultural heritage and recovering and repatriating looted antiquities, will act as the groups Secretariat.
David said: “The looting of cultural and religious frescoes is underappreciated and is much more than theft; it not only offends the human dignity of those who value the frescoes, but looted items are then used to fund further criminal behaviour. The UK Parliament must recognise its duty to join international efforts to protect cultural heritage by keeping a watchful eye and reporting suspect items found illicitly within British borders. I commend the work of Walk of Truth whose Founder, Tasoula Hadjitofi, has an unshakable commitment to protecting cultural heritage”.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson MP said: “This new APPG is an important step in raising public awareness of the appalling desecration of cultural sites we have studied and read about. I am determined that London should be a protector of stolen heritage, temporarily storing artefacts here until it is safe for them to be returned to their home country, and that such looting does not benefit Daesh or terrorist organisations. It is vital that the MPS has the resources it needs to fight this type of crime.”