Five biracial women born in Congo who were taken away from their Black mothers during Belgian rule have filed a lawsuit for crimes against humanity targeting the Belgian state.
With their claim, they hope Belgium will finally recognize its responsibility in the suffering endured by the thousands of biracial children, known as “métis,″ who were snatched away from families and placed in religious institutions and homes.
Lea Taveres Mujing is among them: “There is no consideration, there is nothing, nothing. We were dumped like that. After they broke our entire life. We had no adolescence or childhood, there is nothing.
“What do we have to give to our children? The children don’t even know where to turn to in case of trouble. We don’t know, we are exhausted.”
According to the legal documents, in all five cases the fathers did not exercise parental authority and the Belgian administration threatened the children’s Congolese families with reprisals if they refused to let them go.
Chritophe Marchand, a lawyer for the women said: “Here, what at stake is a systematic policy from the Belgian colonial state, a racist policy that aimed at kidnapping children, putting them in very harsh conditions and then abandoning them, this is really what we can say it’s a so heavy crime, that is a crime against humanity.”
Meanwhile, for the first time in Belgium’s history, a reigning king expressed regret Tuesday for the violence carried out by the former colonial power when it ruled over what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
In a letter to the president of the DRC, Felix Tshisekedi, published on the 60th anniversary of the African country’s independence, Belgium’s King Philippe conveyed his “deepest regrets” for the “acts of violence and cruelty” and the “suffering and humiliation” inflicted on Belgian Congo.