French MPs Approve Return of Stolen Artefacts to Benin, Senegal

France’s Members of Parliament have approved the return of historical artefacts stolen from Republic of Benin and Senegal.

The MPs voted for a limited restitution to the two countries on Thursday.

Both countries, colonised by the French in the 19th century lost lots of historical artefacts to their colonial master. There are about 90,000 looted and artefacts in France at the point.

Benin will receive 26 of its stolen artefacts in the restitution with one of them being the throne of the last king of Dahomey, Behanzin.

Read: Benin Prepares To Receive Artefacts Taken Away By The French

Senegal will receive a sword owned by a 19th-century Sheikh El Hadj Omar. The sword and its sheath is in the museum of the French Army but had been loaned to Dakar Museum on a long-term.

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A total of 48 MPs voted for the restitution, none voted against while there were two abstentions.

The vote for a restitution of the artefacts has been described as a “strong act towards African and Afro-descendant youth”

Historical museums like the Quai-Branly Jacques Chirac museum and several British institutions continue to face pressure to return stolen artefacts back to their roots.

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In France, there are at least 240 artefacts which have their roots currently under investigation.

Germany also opened a museum on Wednesday with criticisms greeting the event as artefacts from Benin Kingdom, Nigeria and other African countries were found there.

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