Bermuda Post

Saturday, Mar 02, 2024

Belgian MPs fail to agree on apology for colonial-era atrocities

Belgian MPs fail to agree on apology for colonial-era atrocities

Belgium will not apologise to Congo, Burundi and Rwanda for its colonial past after MPs this week failed to agree on how to seek atonement for abuses committed during the country's colonial regime.

The Belgian parliament set up a commission in 2020 in the wake of protests triggered by the Black Lives Matter movement to examine the country's record in its former central African colonies.

But after more than two years of work, the panel has failed to reach a consensus on how to formulate an apology for the notoriously bloody excesses of Belgian rule in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi.

The MPs had been due to meet on Monday to approve 128 recommendations drawn up by the commission. But in the end none went to a vote. 


War of words


There were concerns that using the word "apology" for Belgium's wrongdoing instead of "regret" over the atrocities that happened could open the door to a Congolese demand for financial reparations.

Under the text, parliament would have said sorry to "the Congolese, Burundian and Rwandan peoples for colonial domination and exploitation, violence and atrocities, individual and collective violations of human rights during this period, as well as racism and the discrimination that accompanied them".

While Belgium's liberal parties, one of which Prime Minister Alexander De Croo is a member, opposed offering an official apology, the francophone socialist PS party felt the terminology of "regrets" was insufficient.

"The liberals sabotaged the work of the commission through pure colonialist dogmatism," said greens MP Guillaume Defossé, describing the commission's work as "a wasted opportunity" and "a great disappointment".

Belgium's failure to agree came on the same day the Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte apologised for 250 years of slavery by the Dutch state.


Statues targeted


In 2020, Belgium saw protests targeting statues celebrating King Leopold II and other figures of the colonial era. Similar actions occurred in the United States with regards to figures linked to slavery.

The 19th century king is a controversial figure. In Belgium he is called the "Builder King", the father of the modern nation. But in central Africa, his rule over a vast private holding was marked by the murder, mutilation and enslavement of tens of thousands. 

Today's king, Philippe, has apologised to the people of the DRC for the "paternalism, discriminations and racism" that led to "abuse and humiliation".

In June, Philippe visited the DRC on the 60th anniversary of the region's independence from Belgium.

Newsletter

Related Articles

Bermuda Post
0:00
0:00
Close
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Steve Jobs' Son Launches Venture Capital Firm With $200 Million For Cancer Treatments
Israel: Unprecedented Civil Disobedience Looms as IDF Reservists Protest Judiciary Reform
Google reshuffles Assistant unit, lays off some staffers, to 'supercharge' products with A.I.
End of Viagra? FDA approved a gel against erectile dysfunction
UK sanctions Russians judges over dual British national Kara-Murza's trial
US restricts visa-free travel for Hungarian passport holders because of security concerns
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Political leader from South Africa, Julius Malema, led violent racist chants at a massive rally on Saturday
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Spanish Citizenship Granted to Iranian chess player who removed hijab
US Senate Republican Mitch McConnell freezes up, leaves press conference
Speaker McCarthy says the United States House of Representatives is getting ready to impeach Joe Biden.
San Francisco car crash
This camera man is a genius
3D ad in front of Burj Khalifa
Next level gaming
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
'I just lost it' Lowe’s worker fired after 13 years of employment for confronting thieves trying to steal $2K of merchandise
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
Europe is boiling: Extreme Weather Conditions Prevail Across the Continent
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Italian Court's Controversial Ruling on Sexual Harassment Ignites Uproar
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
×