May 25, 2018

Algeria has submitted an official request to the French government for the return of the skulls of Algerian resistance fighters held at the “Musée de l’Homme” in Paris. 05/01/2018.

Algeria has submitted an official request to the French government for the return of the skulls of members of its resistance fighters, preserved for nearly two centuries at the “Musée de l’Homme” in Paris, and the recovery of the archives from 1830 to 1962.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdelkader Messahel, asked the Ambassador of Algeria in France to approach the French authorities on these two issues related to the memorial issue.

This step, it is recalled, follows the meeting in Algiers last December 6, between the President of the Republic, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron who paid a working & friendly visit to Algeria.

The question of memory between the two countries was thus one of the points at the centre of the meeting of the two heads of state during which President Macron had announced that France was ready to return the skulls of its resistance fighters to Algeria and to deliver copies of the archives concerning Algeria from 1830 to 1962.

Thus, two requests were sent last Wednesday to the Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian.

The request for the return of skulls was co-signed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdelkader Messahel and Minister of the Moudjahidine (veterans of the liberation war) Tayeb Zitouni, while that concerning the archives was signed by Messahel.

During his visit to France with a view to attending a High Level Intergovernmental Committee in Paris (CIHN), the Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia saluted, on December 7, this « breakthrough » in this sensitive file of the Franco-Algerian memory, indicating in a press conference that the two countries will continue to discuss about the gradual restitution of archives.

It should also be recalled that, in the framework of bilateral co-operation, three sub commissions have been set up to deal with the memorandum. Discussions have been going on for more than a year on the restitution of archives, the compensation of Algerian victims of nuclear tests and the Algerians who disappeared during the war of national liberation.