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France aims to return Aboriginal remains to Australia

France has agreed to work with Australia, to help return Aboriginal remains held in French public collections.

ABC News [1]

France agrees to work with Australia to bring home Aboriginal remains
Posted 19 Nov 2014, 1:11pm

Australia and France have agreed to work together to help return the remains of Aboriginal people held in French public collections.

On the first official visit by a French head of state to Australia, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and French president Francois Hollande said their nations would open a consultation on how to return the human remains.

The two leaders said the process would include setting up a joint expert committee to help identify the origin of indigenous remains held in France.

The process would “respect the sensitivities and values of the two countries and consider the requests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities as well as the specific framework of the French legal system,” they said in a joint statement on Wednesday.

“The aim of the committee will be to propose and determine research aimed at identifying the origin of these human remains.

“The French government will then examine possible solutions to enable the return of the human remains in question to their communities of origin.”

Canberra believes the remains of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are being held in collections around the world, particularly in Europe and the United States.

Aboriginal leaders regard the removal of the remains as an insult to their culture and have campaigned for years to have them returned.

In 2011, a British museum agreed to return 138 sets of skeletal remains of Indigenous people to Australia in what it hailed as a new approach to the delicate subject of repatriation.