‘The vicissitudes of history have nevertheless robbed many peoples of a priceless portion of this inheritance in which their enduring identity finds its embodiment…

The peoples who were victims of this plunder, sometimes for hundreds of years, have not only been despoiled of irreplaceable masterpieces but also robbed of a memory which would doubtless have helped them to greater self-knowledge and would certainly have enabled others to understand them better’.

Amadou-Moktar M’Bow, former Director-General of UNESCO(1)

Queen-Mother Idia, Benin, Nigeria, now in Bode Museum, Berlin, on its way to Humboldt Forum’ Berlin, Germany. How much more do German scholars still need to know about her before she can return to Benin, Nigeria, after an exile dating to 1897?

Die Zeit has published the following statement from Herman Parzinger, President of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation: ‘We will return looted and stolen objects, other objects can be loaned’. (2) Those who have read previous statements by Herman Parzinger would be surprised and relieved to hear that the man who said we need,  for restitution of looted African objects, rules similar to the Washington Principles on the restitution of Nazi looted objects, and also called for a UN/UNESCO conference to establish rules for dealing with colonial legacy, is now saying that looted/stolen objects found among the cultural artefacts that the Humboldt Forum will inherit from the Ethnology Museum, Dalhem, would be returned. From arguing that there are no rules governing the looted colonial artefacts in Western museums, the President of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, has come to recognize that indeed there are rules; he has proclaimed that the looted/stolen objects will be returned as we have been claiming in uncountable articles and since decades. (3) Has Macron’s Ouagadougou Declaration had effect here? Even though Parzinger is not enthusiastic about Macron’s Declaration, he seems to recognize their possible impact on the rest of Europe. (4)So, what are some of the looted/stolen artefacts that must be returned?

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