The Embassy of Nepal dispatched 40 wooden items that were provided by the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) branch of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to Nepal. Qatar Airways transported the artifacts. The Embassy plans to deliver them to the Department of Archaeology in Kathmandu, Nepal, on August 12, 2023.
The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) confiscated these unlawfully taken Nepalese artifacts in Hawaii during August 2010. In 2011, the Nepalese government formally made a request to the United States government for the repatriation of these items.
During a ceremonial event on May 11, 2023, the Embassy of Nepal received these artifacts from the HSI. The collection included 39 elaborately crafted wooden panels and a carved wooden shrine. Out of these, four were randomly selected for display during the transfer ceremony. Once again, these items were showcased during a Nepal tourism promotion event on August 1, 2023, at the Embassy.
Qatar Airways Cargo generously supported the transportation of these artifacts. Qatar Airways Cargo transported them from Washington D.C.’s Dulles International Airport (IAD) to Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA). The Embassy expresses sincere gratitude to Qatar Airways Cargo. They responded to the Embassy’s request and helped ship these artifacts to Nepal. The Embassy is thankful for their assistance.
The Embassy is actively working to recover and return Nepal’s stolen cultural treasures. It’s collaborating with different entities, such as Nepal’s government departments, Homeland Security Investigations under the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), art research experts, heritage recovery advocates, media, and individuals. The Embassy wants to express its wholehearted acknowledgment. It’s grateful to all parties and individuals involved. They have contributed collaboratively to these endeavors.
Up until now, the Embassy has returned a total of 47 artifacts. These hold historical, cultural, and religious importance to Nepal. The returns have taken place since April 2022.