Sri Lanka artefacts: Dutch government returns stolen treasures
Posted on March 1st, 2024

The Netherlands has returned six artefacts taken by force from Sri Lanka during the colonial era. This is the first batch of treasures to be returned.


The artifacts that were stolen from Ceylon rightfully belong to Ceylon (now renamed as Sri Lanka). Additionally, Sri Lanka has a strong claim under the Law of Unjust Enrichment to part of the revenue collected by the Rijks Museum in Amsterdam by selling tickets to visitors over the last 150 years. That money must be repatriated to Sri Lanka. We are shareholders and co-owners of our artifacts illegally seized and taken abroad.

This principle of sharing profits with the victims of Western Colonialism in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean islands through repatriation of revenue collected over 200 years or more by exhibiting stolen goods taken from the Colonies, is a universal principle that is applicable in any part of the world.

I call on the Govt. of Sri Lanka to pursue this matter as a matter of urgency within the framework of Public International Law.

Senaka Weeraratna


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