Five women born to white fathers and black mothers under the colonial administration in the Congo have taken the Belgian state to court, several francophone newspapers revealed on Wednesday.
Aged between two and four at the time, the women were abducted, forcibly placed in a Catholic mission and abandoned when the nuns fled at the time of the country’s independence in 1960.
Léa Tavares Mujinga, Monique Bitu Bings, Noëlle Verbeeken, Simone Ngalula and Marie-José Loshi filed a complaint before the Brussels Court of First Instance on Wednesday, accusing Belgium of having systematically abducted mixed-race children between 1911 and 1960, of having abandoned about 60 of them to their fate in the Belgian Catholic mission of Katende, in the province of Kasai.
The five women also denounce the sexual violence they suffered as a result of this abandonment. They are each claiming €50,000 and are asking for an expert to assess their moral damage.
The House of Representatives in 2018 had recognised the practice of forced kidnapping and the segregation of half-black, half-white people (so-called ‘métis’ children) in the Belgian colonies. In April 2019, then-Prime Minister Charles Michel apologised on behalf of Belgium to the métis people who had been discriminated against during the colonial period and the period that followed.
An introductory hearing on the subject has been set for 10 September.
The Brussels Times