Cameroon Teachers Protest, Seek Reinstatement of Corporal Punishment Amid Rising Violence

Cameroon teachers are protesting what they say is growing violence against them by both students and their parents, and the teachers are urging the government to protect them and reinstate corporal punishment. The teachers say the absence of corporal punishment is encouraging abuse of teachers. This week, several attacks on teaching staffs were reported, including one in which a teenage student fatally stabbed his teacher, in the capital.

Students shout Saturday at a government-run school in Obala, a town on the outskirts of Cameroon’s capital, Yaounde, protesting the principal’s decision to destroy all mobile phones and knives seized from children Friday at the school.  One of their senior discipline masters, Narcisse Ateba, says the students use mobile phones to access social media platforms that promote violence, and they also use sharp objects such as knives to attack their peers and teachers.

Messages carried by Cameroon teachers while protesting, Bamenda, Cameroon, May 24, 2019.
Cameroon Teachers Protest Escalating Violence in Separatist Areas

As students in Cameroon began their annual exams Monday, hundreds of their teachers in English-speaking regions were on the streets protesting. The teachers are demanding better security after three teachers and a student were abducted, adding to scores captured, killed, or whose property was torched during a two-year separatist conflict.Teachers dressed in dark clothes and holding signs demanding better security walk down a street in Bamenda, the capital of Cameroon’s northwest region.

He says that some parents and students will want to harass or beat him up, but he has nonetheless decided to publicly destroy the 15 mobile phones found and seized by teachers from students Friday because it is illegal to use them in classrooms. He says he will not allow students to come to school with razor blades, box-cutters and knives.

The destruction of the mobile phones and the peaceful marches to administrative offices and palaces are part of protests by teachers at Obala against what they say are increasing acts of violence against them.

This week, a 16-year-old student at the public school Nkolbisson in a neighborhood in Yaounde is accused of using a knife to stab his mathematics teacher who died of excessive bleeding as he was being rushed to a hospital. The school said the student insisted on using his mobile phone in class against the teacher’s instruction. The student was arrested and detained by police, and will be answering to charges, including premeditated killing.

Another teacher this week was battered by students in Douala for questioning why they were late to school, and yet another teacher in Douala was beaten by a parent and fell into a coma. The parent was said to be angry with the teacher’s decision to use corporal punishment on his son as punishment for making noise in class. In another incident, a student used a machete to chop off another student’s finger in Obala after a fight during a soccer match.

Elvis Yisinyuy, an official with the Cameroon Teachers Trade Union in Yaounde, says attacks by students on teachers intensified in 2015 when Cameroon prohibited teachers from beating or severely punishing students.

“When a minister says that teachers are not supposed to administer corporal punishment to students, the student will now see that he [the minister] has the right to bring disorder because there is nothing the teacher can do in class,” said Yisinyuy. “The minister should revisit the text and permit teachers to administer corporal punishment with caution.”

FILE - Teneng Sidonie Weteck sings and dances in class at a school for displaced Nigerian children at the Minawao camp, northern Cameroon, February 18, 2015.
Cameroon Teachers Celebrate Teachers Day Amid Growing Challenges

October 5 is World Teachers Day, set aside to mobilize support and to ensure that the needs of future generations will be met by teachers. Some teachers, who work with Central African refugees in camps in eastern Cameroon or on the border with Central African Republic (C.A.R.), face especially difficult challenges.

Emmanuel Mbiydzenyuy asks students to be quiet and follow English language classes here at the government school in Dhahong in eastern Cameroon. Eighty of the 110 students in one class are…

Yusinyuy said the high wave of drug consumption by students and the inability of teachers to use corporal punishment because they have been prohibited from doing so is also responsible for the wave of attacks.

Nalova Lyonga, Cameroon minister of secondary education, says corporal punishment can not be tolerated because it is an abuse on the rights of students who are mostly children.

“What I have told the teachers is that they themselves have to make a distinction between a disciplinary case and a case which becomes a criminal case, and they should be able to report to the special police at the disposal of the schools,” said Lyonga.

Lyonga said Cameroon students are exposed to other cultures of the world because of the increasing use of mobile phones, and they gain access to social media platforms that promote violence, while neglecting the peace and unity that Cameroon traditionally preaches.

Carol Kayum, president of Reference Citizens, a non-governmental organization that promotes citizenship education, has been visiting schools in Yaounde to educate both teachers and students against violence. She says Cameroon should uphold it’s culture of non-violence to prevent the growing number of assaults on other students and teachers.

“Our cultures are rich. Parents should transmit them to children, and also there should be communication between schools and parents so that we know what our children are doing in school, and we also tell the school authorities what the children do at home,” said Kayum. “School authorities and parents should control the use of drugs.

Kayum said many people now join the teaching profession because they lack jobs, and not for the love of teaching, and as such, they are not loved by students.

The students also have complained they are harassed by some teachers whom they accuse of behaving poorly or not teaching well.

The Cameroon Ministry of Secondary Education has recorded 40 violent attacks by students on their peers, 22 attacks on teachers and 15 attacks by parents on teachers within the past  month. 

Millions Going Hungry in Haiti 10 Years After Devastating Earthquake

The World Food Program is appealing for $62 million to provide life-saving food assistance over the next six months to 700,000 people suffering from severe hunger in the Caribbean island of Haiti.

Millions of Haitians still lack proper shelter, food and other basic necessities 10 years after a devastating earthquake killed 300,000 people and displaced one-and-one-half-million.

The World Food Program says one in three Haitians need urgent food assistance in both rural and urban areas.  It says one million of them are suffering from severe hunger, causing rates of acute malnutrition to rise.  

Homes are seen in the Taba Isa earthquake survivor camp in Port au Prince, Haiti. (Renan Toussaint/VOA Creole)

WFP spokeswoman Elizabeth Byrs says her agency is scaling up its operation to provide emergency food aid to hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable people.  

“Ten years after the earthquake, WFP is still concerned about a decline in food security, with 3.7 million people severely food insecure and affected also by rising prices, drop in agricultural production, and social unrest, of course, which has heavily disrupted economic activity in Haiti,” Byrs said.

Anti-government riots last year disrupted the ability of humanitarian agencies to bring food and other aid to people in the impoverished country.   Byrs says the WFP responded to this emergency by providing food to more than 230,000 of the most vulnerable.  She says it also furnished 300,000 school children with daily food, including hot meals.

Byrs says donors have contributed $5 million since WFP launched its emergency appeal in December.  That means the agency still needs $57 million to continue its life-saving operation for the next six months.  

She notes 80 percent of the 700,000 beneficiaries are women and children, many of whom can barely manage to find enough food for one meal a day.

UN Envoy Hopes for, but Cannot Predict, Speedy Reopening of Libya Oil Ports

The United Nations envoy to Libya said on Saturday he hoped but “could not predict” whether eastern oil ports shut ahead of a pending Berlin summit aimed at reaching a truce in Libya would be reopened soon.

Ghassan Salame said the Berlin summit scheduled for Sunday would likely discuss the closures to avoid them dragging on for weeks or months like previous seizures of facilities.

“If the thing is not solved between today and tomorrow I expect the issue to be raised, yes,” Salame told Reuters in Berlin, where Germany and the UN are expected to push for an
extended truce.

Oil export terminals across eastern and central Libya were shut on Friday by tribesmen allied to commander Khalifa Haftar, whose Libya National Army (LNA) based in the east has been locked in a nine-month war with government forces over control of the capital, Tripoli.

Diplomats see the closures as a power play by the LNA aimed at choking off oil revenue to the internationally recognized Tripoli government.

The National Oil Corp (NOC) on Saturday declared force majeure on oil exports from the eastern ports of Brega, Ras Lanuf, Hariga, Zueitina and Es Sider, saying the closures would result in the loss of 800,000 barrels (bpd) day in oil output.

Production in Libya, which was plunged into chaos with the toppling of longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, was estimated at 1.3 million bpd last week.

Salame said he hoped Haftar would be willing to consider extending a truce which has largely held for a week despite the two sides failing to sign a deal at talks in Moscow mediated by Russia and Turkey on Monday.

Haftar is expected to attend the summit opposite Tripoli-based Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj.

The war over Tripoli is backed by foreign powers with the LNA supported by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and most recently Russian mercenaries, and Turkey sending troops and fighters from Syria’s civil war to help al-Serraj.

“I can confirm the arrival of fighters from Syria,” Salame said, putting estimates at 1,000 to 2,000.

There have been a series of failed conferences and negotiations to stabilize Libya.

Salame said he had started the process of a new intra-Libyan dialog between the rival parliaments in Tripoli and the east, an approach that has failed since 2017.

“What is different now is that we have war…in 2017 there was no pressure, but now you have thousands of people who have been killed,” he said.

Gun Rights Activists Scheduled to Rally Monday in Virginia

A major gun rights rally is scheduled for Monday in the capital of the U.S. southeastern state of Virginia.

Thousands of pro-gun activists, included armed militia members, are expected to gather in Richmond at a time when Democrats have full control of the state legislature for the first time in a generation.

Democratic lawmakers have made passing tougher gun control laws a central campaign theme.

The Virginia Senate approved legislation late Thursday requiring background checks on all firearm sales and limiting handgun purchases to one a month. The senate also passed a bill to restore local government right to ban weapons from public buildings and other venues.

Neo-Nazi, militia and other gun-rights groups have promised to gather enmasse on the capital for Monday’s rally, which is organized annually by the Virginia Citizens Defense League.

The planned demonstration harkens back to a violent white supremacist rally in nearby Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, when one woman was killed and more than 30 other people injured as a white supremacist rammed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters.

Amid threats of violence and a possible heavy turnout, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, a Democrat, declared a temporary state of emergency Wednesday that bans all weapons from Richmond’s Capitol Square during Monday’s rally to prevent “armed militia groups (from) storming our capitol.”

Gun-rights groups, which contend the constitution guarantees their right to own any firearm, asked the Virginia Supreme Court rule the temporary ban unconstitutional, but the court upheld the ban on Friday.

Northam said authorities have received credible threats of violence, including the deployment of weaponized drones over Capitol Square.

Extremist groups have also inundated social media and the internet with threatening messages and hints of violence.

The FBI arrested three alleged members of a white supremacist group on gun charges Thursday, partly due to concern that they planned to incite violence at the rally.

Both houses of the Virginia legislature are expected to approve even more restrictive gun control laws, including a ban on assault rifles and “red flag” laws aimed at taking guns from people who are considered risk to communities.

U.S. President Donald Trump had words of support late Friday for gun rights supporters in Virginia, tweeting, “That’s what happens when you vote for Democrats, they will take your guns away.”

Supporters of tighter gun control laws say they would help reduce the number of people killed by guns each year.

UK Plans Brexit Celebrations but Warns Businesses May Suffer

The British government has announced plans for special events on the night of Jan. 31 when the country officially leaves the European Union but the country’s treasury chief has admitted that some U.K. business sectors will suffer as a result.

Sajid Javid told the Financial Times in an interview Saturday that Britain’s regulations will not be aligned with the EU in the future and that those changes may hurt some businesses. Currently the EU is Britain’s largest trading partner.

“There will not be alignment, we will not be a rule-taker, we will not be in the single market and we will not be in the customs union — and we will do this by the end of the year,” he said, referring to a deadline at the end of 2020 for conclusion of what are expected to be contentious trade talks with the then-27 member EU.

Britain will officially leave the EU bloc on the night of Jan. 31, even though it will keep following EU rules for an 11-month transition period. It will be the first nation ever to leave the bloc. The British government plans to mark the occasion with a series of upbeat events.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to make a speech to the nation that night after holding a rare cabinet session in the north of England to emphasize his government’s plan to spread opportunity to that economically beleaguered region.

The government also plans to mark Brexit by projecting a clock onto the prime minister’s official residence at 10 Downing Street in London that will count down until 11 p.m., when the break takes place.

The entire government neighborhood of Whitehall is to be illuminated for the occasion as part of a light show, with Union flags flown on all the poles in Parliament Square. The government will also create a commemorative coin that will enter circulation that day.

But Johnson’s Conservative government is no longer actively pushing a plan to have the familiar chimes of the Big Ben clock tower at Parliament sound at 11 p.m. despite a private fundraising push in support of activating the chimes, which are under repair.

Britain voted in a 2016 referendum to become the first nation to leave the 28-nation EU, but the process has moved more slowly than expected. A stalemate last year kept a withdrawal bill from passing, leading to a rare December election that gave Johnson’s pro-Brexit Conservative Party a strong majority in Parliament.

The Brexit divorce bill quickly passed when the new Parliament convened. A transition period will last until the end of 2020 as negotiators try to forge a trade arrangement between Britain and the remaining EU nations.

Johnson, who is also seeking a trade deal with the United States, has ruled out seeking an extension of the deadline for the EU talks.

Pentagon Placing New Restrictions on International Military Students

The Pentagon is placing new restrictions on all international military students at American bases in response to a December shooting by a Saudi trainee that killed three sailors in Florida.

Garry Reid, director of defense intelligence at the Pentagon, said the restrictions would include limits to students’ ability to possess and use firearms, along with control measures limiting their access to military installations and U.S. government facilities.

Act of terrorism

Earlier this week, the Department of Justice called the December 6 attack at Naval Air Station Pensacola an act of terrorism.    

Twenty-one Saudi trainees were returned to Saudi Arabia after an investigation found they had either jihadist sentiments on social media pages or contact with child pornography. Officials did not accuse any of them of having advance knowledge of the shooting or helping the gunman.

Updated software will help

Senior defense officials say the U.S. military will more closely control foreign trainees’ access to facilities on military bases by using a software application known as the Defense Bio-metric Identification System, which could code foreign students’ access credentials to prohibit their entry into buildings not used for their training.

Trainees will now be continuously monitored while enrolled in U.S.-based training programs, according to a defense official.

“When these procedures are in place, the military departments will be authorized to fully resume the training that has been suspended since the attack at Pensacola,” Reid said.  That suspension has applied to about 850 Saudi trainees.

Updated policies for current and new students

The new policies will be applicable to all current student populations in addition to new students.

In the last 20 years, more than a million students have gone through the United States’ International Military Students program.

There were no “serious security incidents” until the December 6 shooting in Pensacola, according to defense officials. During that attack, Saudi Air Force officer Mohammed Alshamrani, 21,  killed three U.S. sailors and injured eight other people.

Jury of 7 Men, 5 Women Selected for Weinstein’s Rape Trial

A jury of seven men and five women was selected Friday for Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial after an arduous two-week process, setting the stage for testimony to begin in the next week.

The final tally mostly erased a gender imbalance that, just hours earlier, led to complaints by prosecutors that the defense was deliberately trying to keep young women off the panel.

“They are systematically eliminating a class of people from this jury,” prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orbon said.

The defense said it wasn’t specifically targeting young women, but didn’t want jurors who were too young to understand the way men and women interacted in the early 1990s.

“That was a different time in New York and on planet Earth,” Weinstein attorney Arthur Aidala said.

Weinstein, 67, ambling out of the courthouse, didn’t comment when asked his thoughts on jury selection. “Ask Donna!” he said, referring to lawyer Donna Rotunno. Three alternate jurors — one man and two women — were also seated who will sit through the trial and take the place of any jurors on the main panel who can’t make it through to deliberations.

Donna Rotunno walks ahead of her client Harvey Weinstein, left, as they arrive at a Manhattan courthouse to attend jury selection for his trial on rape and sexual assault charges in New York, Jan. 17, 2020.

Weinstein, the former studio boss behind such Oscar winners as “Pulp Fiction” and “Shakespeare in Love,” is charged with raping a woman in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013 and sexually assaulting another woman in 2006. He has pleaded not guilty and said any sexual activity was consensual. If convicted, he could face life in prison.

Complicated selection process

The tussle over juror gender comes amid a selection process that has been far from easy.

Weinstein’s case has attracted widespread public attention and catalyzed the MeToo movement as dozens of women have come forward over the last two years with allegations of sexual misconduct. That’s made it tough for Weinstein’s lawyers, prosecutors and Burke to find a fair and impartial jury.

Each day for nearly a week, whenever Judge James Burke introduced Weinstein to a new batch of potential jurors and asked if they couldn’t be impartial, dozens of hands shot up.

Weinstein’s lawyers have tried, so far unsuccessfully, to move the trial out New York City, arguing that the media hub where celebrities and ordinary people often intersect can’t possibly give Weinstein a fair trial.

Cognizant of the media attention and the weight some people are putting on the case, Burke has cautioned potential jurors: “This trial is not a referendum on the #MeToo movement.”

Of more than 600 people summoned as potential jurors in Weinstein’s case, some have marked themselves for disqualification by admitting they knew one of Weinstein’s many accusers, had personal experience with sexual abuse, or read “Catch and Kill,” a book by Ronan Farrow, one of the first reporters to bring the allegations against Weinstein to light.

There were others like supermodel Gigi Hadid, who reported for jury duty and wound up in the Weinstein pool, who even said they had met the defendant. One man’s wife starred on a show that Weinstein’s studio produced and said he couldn’t be impartial. One woman said she couldn’t be impartial because she has a “close friend who had an encounter with the defendant in his hotel room.”

Another man was scratched for saying he couldn’t be fair-minded because he had often spotted Weinstein in Tribeca, the lower Manhattan neighborhood that hosts an annual film festival. “On several occasions I’ve seen him on the phone screaming at someone,” he said of Weinstein.

In the end, the jury includes the author of a upcoming novel that she describes as involving young women dealing with predatory older men. The defense, out of challenges, argued against including her on the jury, but Burke said she could serve. The defense then asked for a mistrial over her inclusion on the jury but was denied. Weinstein lawyer Rotunno said the woman had lied on her jury questionnaire, but prosecutors noted she disclosed on the form that she was a novelist.

That so many people in the running to be on the jury have had experiences involving Weinstein or his accusers speaks to the breadth of his alleged abuse, as well as the ubiquitous nature of celebrity in New York, where stars are frequently spotted by paparazzi and the public alike riding the subway, shopping for groceries and walking their pets.

Juror prejudices, experiences

Then there have been other issues, including at least one instance of what jury consultants call “stealth jurors” — people eager to serve, especially on a high-profile case, because they hope to make a point, or a profit.

On Thursday, Burke threatened to hold a potential juror in contempt of court for asking his followers on Twitter “how a person might hypothetically leverage serving on the jury of a high-profile case to promote their new novel.”

Opening statements are expected next Wednesday. The trial could last about six weeks.

While Weinstein’s celebrity was behind some of the difficulties in finding an impartial jury in this case, they also stemmed from the fact that the MeToo movement has Americans thinking more than ever about their own experiences with sexual harassment and assault.

“A lot of folks who will be incapable of separating their own workplace experiences from the case … and might not even recognize that they’re bringing their own prejudice, if you will, to bear on the circumstances,” said jury consultant Philip K. Anthony. “It’s not bad on their part — it’s just human nature.”

Anthony’s Los Angeles consulting firm is not involved in Weinstein’s case.

During the phase of jury selection called voir dire, where lawyers attempt to size up people who have assured the judge they could be fair and impartial jurors, the lawyers’ concerns were in evidence. Addressing a pool of prospective jurors Thursday, prosecutor Meghan Hast signaled concerns that the sight of Weinstein, who’s been using a walker since back surgery last month, could influence their attitudes about him.

“Is there anything about Harvey Weinstein, looking at him today, that makes you feel that there’s no way that man’s a rapist?” she asked. No one responded.

Defense lawyer Damon Cheronis told the panel that they would hear testimony from Weinstein accusers who might get emotional and cry on the witness stand. He also asked the potential jurors whether they were familiar with the concept of “victim shaming.”

Another one of his questions: “Does anybody think an individual could have sex with someone that they may not find attractive for reasons other than love?” No one responded.

Prosecutors plan to call at least four women to the witness stand who have accused Weinstein of violating them, but whose allegations weren’t the basis for the New York charges.

As jury selection was getting under way last week, California prosecutors charged Weinstein with sexually assaulting two women there, one of whom who is expected to testify in the New York case.

Burke ruled Friday that if Weinstein testifies on his own behalf, prosecutors can’t question him about that accuser on cross examination.

Press Fights New Trump Impeachment Rules

For just the third time in U.S. history, senators will sit in judgment of a U.S. president and decide if there is enough evidence to remove him from office. Members of Congress are held to account for their decisions by a free press asking tough questions about their actions. But as VOA’s congressional correspondent Katherine Gypson reports from Capitol Hill, new rules for Trump’s impeachment trial may change that process.

Migrant Surge into Guatemala Reaches 3,500, Heads for Mexico

More than 3,500 Central Americans had poured into Guatemala by Friday in U.S.-bound gatherings known as caravans, officials said, posing a headache for the leaders of Guatemala and Mexico amid fierce U.S. pressure to curb migration.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly urged the region to prevent such groups of migrants reaching Mexico’s border with the United States, and the latest exodus from Honduras that began on Wednesday has been accompanied by U.S. border agents.

The migrants, some traveling in groups as small as a dozen people while others formed caravans of more than 100, said they planned to unite at the Guatemalan border city of Tecun Uman before crossing together into Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said his government was monitoring the situation as the migrants approached, saying there were 4,000 jobs available on the southern border, as well as shelters and medical help.

“We are keeping an eye on everything,” Lopez Obrador said during a regular press conference.

Honduran migrants get a ride on the back of a truck as they travel north in hopes of reaching the United States, in Quezaltepeque, Guatemala, Jan. 17, 2020.

Lopez Obrador did not say if Mexico would seek to keep the migrants in the southern part of the country. Most Central Americans who leave their countries escaping poverty and violence are eager to make their way towards the United States.

Under U.S. pressure, Mexican security forces have increasingly broken up large groups as they head north.

On Wednesday, Guatemala’s new President Alejandro Giammattei suggested Mexico would prevent any caravans from reaching the United States.

About a thousand migrants entered Guatemala on Thursday, with local officials busing some of the migrants back to the Honduran border to fill out official paperwork, said Alejandra Mena, a spokeswoman for Guatemala’s migration institute.

“We haven’t returned people from Guatemala and we have a total of about 3,543 people who have so far crossed the border,” Mena said.

At least 600 Honduran migrants spent the night under tents in a shelter in Guatemala City on Thursday night, sleeping on mattresses.

“Now we have more experience, and we know how to treat them,” said Father Mauro Verzeletti, director of the Migrant House shelter in Guatemala City.

Guatemala’s former President Jimmy Morales agreed last July with the U.S. government to implement measures aimed at reducing the number of asylum claims made in the United States by migrants fleeing Honduras and El Salvador, averting Trump’s threat of economic sanctions.

New leader Giammattei said a top priority would be reviewing the text of migration agreements made with the United States.

Benin Museum Celebrates Return of Precious Artifacts from France

More than two years after France promised to return colonial-era treasures to their African homes, Benin — ostensibly the first recipient of the groundbreaking policy — still awaits them. But on Friday, a small museum outside Cotonou celebrated the return of antique royal scepters gifted by a group of Paris gallery owners.

In 2017, French President Emmanuel Macron sparked joy — and unease — when he announced colonial-era treasures from Africa would be returned, or shared through exhibitions and loans. The first gesture would be the speedy return to Benin of 26 objects looted by French colonial forces in 1892.

But turning that promise into reality is not so easy. Only last December did France’s culture minister offer a concrete timetable, saying the objects now housed at Paris’ leading African art museum would be returned by 2021.

Enter a group of Paris Left Bank gallery owners, whose private efforts are moving much more quickly than public ones. They have not only acquired and returned precious antiques to Benin for years, but raised funds to build a small museum outside Cotonou to house them.

On Friday that institution, the Petit Musee de la Recade, welcomed one of its biggest troves to date: more than two dozen pieces, including 17 scepters, coming from the ancient Kingdom of Dahomey, located in parts of what is modern day Benin.

Speaking by phone from Cotonou, Paris gallery owner Robert Vallois said the gesture doesn’t constitute restitution of ill-gotten art. Instead, he and his colleagues bought the antiques in France, with the specific intent of returning them to Benin.

Macron’s restitution promise has been more complicated to realize. It means changing French laws and ensuring old and fragile pieces are properly housed.

With French support, Benin is building a new museum in Abomey, once the capital of the Kingdom of Dahomey. Jose Pliya, head of Benin’s national agency for heritage promotion and tourism development, spoke to VOA about the process last year.

“We really have to have the good condition — temperature, isolation, conservation — to welcome them … a lot of things have to be done. The training of all the conservators in Benin, how to protect the pieces,” Pliya said.

Despite the roadblocks, Macron’s restitution vows add pressure on other European countries and museums with African collections.

Vallois said he and his gallery group are not part of such debates. Instead, they’re following their own counsel — and what’s important to them is that the objects return to their countries of origin.