Macron paves the way for the repatriation of stolen antiquities

11 October 2020
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Unlike the hardline British, the French National Assembly passed a law allowing the repatriation of foreign cultural treasures housed in French museums.

This paves the way for the return of African cultural heritage to Senegal and Benin.

According to the official statement of the French Presidency, Emanuel Macron “is the first Western leader to launch a comprehensive review of the looting of the colonial period, with the aim of bringing European and African countries together to build a political and cultural exchange”.
The French president had stated in 2017 that “African heritage cannot simply be found in European private collections and museums”.

The new law, which has already been passed by the French National Assembly and is expected to be passed by the Senate, now creates a new cultural fact, so that many countries, including Greece, can claim antiquities and treasures found in both French and British museums.

In the first phase, 26 works of art stolen in 1892, as booty from Benin, also known as the “Treasure of Behanzin” and now housed in the Quai Branly Museum in Paris, will be returned.

About 90% of the cultural heritage of African countries is believed to be in Europe today.

According to experts, 46.000 items in the Quai Branly Museum in Paris qualify for repatriation.

Benin has already demanded the return of about 5.000 works.

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