A UN conference has called for an intensified effort to achieve the repatriation of Indigenous ceremonial objects and human remains being held in foreign museums and other institutions. This is a key outcome of the inaugural World Conference on Indigenous Peoples that has just ended at UN headquarters in New York. The article focuses on Australian aboriginal remains and objects
Many European museums and galleries have held Australian Indigenous remains without even looking at them for decades [...] it was only when Indigenous communities began asking for the remains be returned, that their scientific value was suddenly deemed paramount. "Most collections that have been assembled overseas have never really been studied. That's the irony anyway. It's the irony from [the point of view of] anthropology. It might not actually be from the Aboriginal point of view. I can accept that. But often when institutions in Europe have been asked to return remains, they say, 'But these haven't been studied.' They've only had them [for] a hundred years and they've still not studied them and all of a sudden they've found that they're very valuable. Now, they're reluctant to give them back because now they want to study them."Over the years, Australia has emerged as a global leader in the repatriation of Indigenous remains.
Kristina Kukolja, 'UN conference calls for return of Indigenous remains', World News Radio 1 Oct 2014