Cambodia Asks U.K. Cultural Institutions to Return Looted Statues

British museums contain hundreds of allegedly stolen temple treasures.

For decades, Cambodians lived under the iron fist of the Khmer Rouge—a radical communist regime that decimated the country’s professional and technical classes and killed an estimated 2 million Cambodians during its official rule from 1975 to 1979. Through the 1990s, a ring of the movement’s leaders mercilessly looted cultural treasures, and hundreds of priceless statues and temple items were sold off and removed from the country.

Now, the Cambodian government says many of those artifacts are currently in possession of the United Kingdom—and they want their artwork back.

BBC News’ Celia Hatton reports that Cambodian culture minister Phoeurng Sackona recently asked Britain to investigate the provenance of Cambodian artifacts in the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum in London.

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