Torn from Parents in the Belgian Congo, Women Seek Reparations


Five women are seeking reparations and suing the Belgian state for crimes against humanity for the segregationist policy that stripped them from their mothers—one that endured from the end of the 19th century to Congo's independence in 1960 and even after.

As mixed-race children born under colonial rule in Belgian Congo, the children of African mothers and European fathers, they were taken from their homes as young girls by the authorities and sent to religious schools hundreds of miles away, growing up in poverty and suffering from malnutrition and physical abuse. 

Unions between African women and European men were forbidden under Belgian rule in Congo, and the authorities went to drastic lengths to ensure the primacy of whites. In 2019, the Belgian government apologized for the systematic kidnapping, segregation, deportation, and forced adoption of biracial children during its colonial rule. Yet little remains known about its scale and the children's stories. 

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The New York Times