Belgium apology for mixed-race kidnappings in colonial era

Belgium apology for mixed-race kidnappings in colonial era

BBC News
2019-04-04

Audience members watch Mr Michel speak in parliament
Many mixed-race people were in parliament to watch Mr Michel apologise

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel has apologised for the kidnapping of thousands of children born to mixed-race couples during colonial rule in Burundi, DR Congo and Rwanda.

The “mĂ©tis” children born to Belgian settlers and local women were forcibly taken to Belgium and fostered by Catholic orders and other institutions.

About 20,000 children are believed to have been affected.

Most fathers refused to acknowledge the paternity of their children.

The children were born in the 1940s and 1950s and taken to Belgium from 1959 until the independence of each of the three colonies.

Some of the children never received Belgian nationality and remained stateless.

Speaking in the Belgian parliament, Mr Michel said the country had breached the children’s basic human rights, seeing them as a threat to the colonial system.

It had, he said, stripped them of their identity, stigmatised them and split up siblings…

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