Belgium Apologizes for Kidnapping Children from African Colonies


Belgium apologized on Thursday for the kidnapping, segregation, deportation, and forced adoption of thousands of children born to mixed-race couples during its colonial rule of Burundi, Congo, and Rwanda.

The apology is the first time that Belgium has recognized any responsibility for what historians say was the immense harm the country inflicted on the Central African nations, which it colonized for eight decades. Prime Minister Charles Michel offered the apology in front of a plenary session of Parliament, which was attended by people of mixed race in the visitors’ gallery.

“Children born out of parents of mixed color during colonial times were always considered as a threat to the colonial enterprise, to profits and to the prestige and the domination of the white race,” said Assumani Budagwa, a Belgian engineer and amateur historian who was born in colonial Congo and whose family experienced the separation of mixed-race children. He called the apology both historic — because it was done in the name of the Belgian people — and symbolic, because it “doesn’t efface the aftermath of the colonization.”

Read more here.

New York Times