Ethiopia: Protecting Heritages From Risk of Theft and Damage

At different times, Ethiopia has lost several ancient cultural heritages and resources because of looting, plundering and fighting during colonialism.

In the museums of various countries, it is common to find Ethiopia's ancient manuscripts, religious objects and instruments, archeological remains and the likes that represent the nation's long-aged history. These heritage assets had been stolen and hidden both by local people and foreigners.

To reverse this, the country has been initiating various measures through preparing national legal frameworks and ratifying different international agreements towards the heritage. In line with this, the country ratified the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property in November 2017.

As it is stated at heritage conference held in earlier years here in Addis Ababa by the cooperation of UNESCO, Ethiopia is among the African countries that lost its cultural artifacts during the colonial era and after. The country lost 3,415 religious, historic and cultural heritages including manuscripts, crosses, paintings, church materials, cloth and jewels of Ethiopian origin, weapons, and archaeological findings.

Recently, Sin ksar Book, a holy book of Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, stolen from the South Gonder Zone Andabet Woreda Worcheme Saint Giorgis was acquired in Saint Kidane Mihret Church, in Bahir Dar City.

Melaka Tsehay Tsedalu Negash, Head of South Gondar Diocese of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church said that the acquired book weights 20 kg and customarily reads between March to August.

As to him though the zone is home for different heritages, due to lack of attention and conservation the inheritances have been stolen by some wrongdoers. To reverse this, the church has been working in collaboration with believers of the religion and concerned government bodies.

Senait Asredaw, Office Head, on her part, said that to halt the crime conducted against heritages, the office launched annual heritage asset auditing program. The activity hopefully reduces the crime of heritage theft and damaging probability.

Furthermore, the office has been conserving the heritages through establishing a museum in the area where famous heritages are registered and kept safely, she remarked.

More From: Ethiopian Herald

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