UMAC published the “Guidance for Restitution and Return of Items from University Museums and Collections“. The document is the outcome of the project UMAC-ER: The Ethics of Restitution and Repatriation (2020-2021), chaired by Vice-Chair Steph Scholten (The Hungarian, University of Glasgow, UK), supported by ICOM and involving partners such as ICOM’s Committee for Professional Ethics (ETHCOM), ICOM Committee for Collections and Museums of Ethnography (ICME), ICOM Australia and UNIVERSEUM.
The guidance elaborates upon the principles expressed in the ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums concerning the return and restitution of items from museum collections and in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). It specifically focusses on the return and restitution of items from universities and their museums and collections. Items can be originating from home countries and elsewhere in the world. The term “item” refers to objects, specimen and samples, but also to ancestral (human) remains and sacred items: the use of the term ‘item’ in this guidance does not diminish their importance.
It is recognised that many originating communities, peoples and countries also wish to have other historical and modern-day rights and resources restored to them. This guidance deals only with the return and restitution of items from museum collections.