This Thursday, June 6, at the Embassy of Peru in Paris, Mr. Rodolphe Gintz, Director General of Customs and Indirect Duties, presented Ms. Cristina Ronquillo, Ambassador of Peru to France, in the presence of Mr. Fabrice Mauries, Deputy Director of the Americas at the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and a representative of the French Museum Service of the Directorate General for Heritage, three pieces of Peruvian antiquity, seized by the Roissy customs services in March 2007.

These objects, two terracotta statues and a carved wooden stick, had been discovered by customs officers during the control of a postal parcel from Peru to a private individual in France. The accompanying document presented the objects as replicas. 

The expert asked by the customs officers, a specialist in pre-Columbian America, confirmed that the objects were authentic and belonged to the Chancay and Chimu culture of Peru, classic period (1,100 and 1,450 A.D. JC) emblematic of Peruvian cultural heritage. They are strictly prohibited from exporting without authorization from the Government of Peru.

True to its international commitments, In particular, the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Fight Against Illicit Trafficking in Cultural Property, France handed over cultural property to the Peruvian authorities.

Her Excellency Cristina Ronquillo, Ambassador of Peru to France, said: “Illicit trafficking in cultural property is a serious offence against culture and the heritage of future generations. That is why, in recent years, Peru has been heavily involved in the recovery, restitution and repatriation of our cultural heritage. In parallel, Peru actively participates in multilateral forums.  We are proud of this high level of bilateral cooperation with France and our country and of the tireless work of the French authorities in this area.”

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, said: I welcome the quality of our cooperation with Peru on this file, which allows the return of these illegally removed cultural property to their country of origin. France is determined to fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural property and continues to lead a strong multilateral mobilization around the protection of cultural heritage.”

Franck Riester, Minister of Culture, said: I am delighted with this presentation, thanks to a customs seizure of three archaeological pieces that testify to the rich heritage of ancient civilizations of Peru. I wanted to thank and congratulate the cooperation and coordination of the Ministry of Culture and Customs, which is constantly fighting against the trafficking of cultural goods. France is particularly involved in mobilizing the international community to protect cultural heritage. 
Gérald Darmanin, Minister of Action and Public Accounts, said: “In 2018, customs completed 48 findings covering nearly 15,000 cultural properties. They thus contribute to the preservation of humanity’s cultural heritage and combat the trafficking that contributes to its dispersion. Returning these objects is the culmination of this process, a great pride and joy for French customs officers.”