Athenians’ Group Seeks Justice for the Parthenon Sculptures

The Parthenon Sculptures at the Duveen Gallery, in the British Museum
The Parthenon Sculptures at the Duveen Gallery, in the British Museum

An Athenian cultural association has brought a claim before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg seeking the return of the Parthenon Sculptures held by the British Museum. This year marks the 200th anniversary of Parliament’s decision to purchase sculptures stripped from the Parthenon from Lord Elgin. At present most of the surviving sculptures rest in London at the British Museum.

Alexander Herman for the Institute of Art & Law blog summarizes the allegations:

The claim is aimed at the United Kingdom and alleges violations of the following rights under the European Convention on Human Rights:

cultural identity as an aspect of «the right to respect for private life» (Article 8 of ECHR);

cultural identity as an aspect of «the freedom of conscience» (Article 9 of ECHR);

the right to access cultural information, as an aspect of «the freedom of expression» (Article 10 of ECHR);

the «right to an effective remedy» (Article 13 of ECHR); and

the right to property, in the sense of integral public access to the monument (Article 1 of the Additional Protocol to ECHR).

The Athenians’ Association, which has existed since 1895, argues in a statement that it hopes to “raise international public awareness and to have justice rendered” and “hopes that the truth will prevail, that the monument will be restored and that history and tradition will shine forth for the good of mankind”.

I’ve laid out my argument as well, that cultural justice demands the reunification of this work of art.

  1. APPEAL OF THE «ATHENIANS’ ASSOCIATION» BEFORE THE EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS FOR THE ACROPOLIS SCULPTURES, Σύλλογος των Αθηναίων (Feb. 18, 2016), http://www.syllogostonathinaion.gr/prosfigi-gia-ta-glypta-tis-akropoleos/appeal-of-the-athenians-association-before-the-european-court-of-human-rights-for-the-acropolis-sculptures/.
  2. Derek Fincham, The Parthenon Sculptures and Cultural Justice, 23 Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal 943 (2013).

1 thought on “Athenians’ Group Seeks Justice for the Parthenon Sculptures”

  1. As a non-lawyer, may I ask whether it is possible to apply to European Court of Human Rights, before the exhaustion of local remedies? As far as I am concerned Greece did not push the legal ways, because of the obvious reasons, for Parthenon Sculptures. So before going through and consuming all possible domestic legal phases, can someone apply to ECHR?

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