Target:
Australian Govt | Department of Communication and the Arts
Region:
Egypt

Australian Citizen Joan Howard 95 has recently made headlines due to a collection of antiquities she acquired by looting archaeological sites in Egypt and the Near East during the late sixties and early seventies. Joan, the wife of Keith Howard who served as an Australian diplomat in the United Nations in 1967, used her husband’s UN connections to travel between Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, and Israel, searching for antiquities. Her activity was recently presented in a celebratory tone in an article of the "West Australian" newspaper which featured her presenting the illicit antiquities collection she keeps at her house in Perth as "a collection come treasure trove the public has never seen".
It is not acceptable that Mrs. Howard behaved as a pirate and appropriated from the different archaeological sites. Mrs. Howard has broken all possible laws taking advantage of her diplomatic status. Thus we call for an investigation on the sources of Mrs. Howard’s collection now in Perth and an initiative for legal action over their repatriation to their countries of origin.


This is to call for an investigation over the illicit digging activities of the Australian Citizen Joan Howard, wife of Keith Howard who served as an Australian diplomat in the United Nations in 1967. Joan was a nurse and spent most of her time during her husband’s mission looting archaeological sites in Egypt and the Near East. Her story recently made headlines at the West Australian, where, among others, it is stated that “Through her husband’s UN connections, over 11 years she was given carte blanche to travel between Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, and Israel. She used her diplomatic freedom to search for antiquities.”
It is not acceptable that Mrs. Howard behaved as a pirate and appropriated from the different archaeological sites. Mrs. Howard has broken all possible laws taking advantage of her diplomatic status.
We, the undersigned, urge you to demand an investigation on the Egyptian artifacts of Mrs. Howard’s collection now in Perth. These objects should be repatriated if found to have left Egypt illegally. The celebratory tone of the article of her boasting on the destruction of archaeological sites sends a very negative image. This is particularly destructive given the current situation of looting of archaeological sites in Egypt post-2011. We need to counter the exact image Mrs. Howard has presented in her article for the safeguard of not only Egyptian heritage, but also world heritage in general.

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