Belgium apologises to children taken from the Congo

Belgium apologises to children taken from the Congo

Prime Minister Charles Michel (MR) will make an apology tomorrow about the segregation of "métis" (mixed-race) children snatched from their African mothers at the end of Congo's colonisation. The apology is to children born in the 40s and 50s in Congo, Rwanda or Burundi, born of a relationship between a Belgian settler and a local woman.

On the eve of Congo's independence in 1959, the Belgian State organised the sending of a large number of these children to Belgium, where they were put under guardianship, placed in homes, or were adopted by Belgian families.

These children didn't automatically receive Belgian nationality, and a lot of the time even remained stateless. The majority of the fathers refused to acknowledge their children. Today, some "métis" children are still looking for possible relatives in Africa. African mothers have spent decades of their lives searching for the children that were taken from them.

Belgian's colonial history is still a delicate subject, which became very clear again a few months ago. UN experts urged the government to apologise for the atrocities committed under colonial rule in the Congo, but the Prime Minister didn't respond then. These apologies are therefore unique.

The N-VA also wants the king to apologise, reports De Tijd.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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