Women Taken From Their Families And Forced Into Foster Homes Are Suing The Belgian Government For Crimes Against Humanity

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Women Taken From Their Families And Forced Into Foster Homes Are Suing The Belgian Government For Crimes Against Humanity

Photo: The five biracial women born in Congo when the country was under Belgian rule suing the Belgian state for crimes against humanity. - Copyright AP Photo/Francisco Seco


Five women who were born in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and locked up in religious institutions as children are suing the Belgian government for crimes against humanity.


Lea Tavares Mujinga, Monique Bintu Bingi, Noelle Verbeken, Simone Ngalula and Marie-Jose Loshi say their campaign will bring attention to the crimes committed by Belgium while the DRC was under colonial rule.


The 5 women, who are biracial and all born between 1945 and 1950, were taken from their families and placed in strict Belgian run religious homes in the DRC where abuse was frequent and widespread. These homes were run by the Sisters of Saint Vincent de Paul. The goal of the Belgian government at the time was to stop interracial children being normalised in society and dissuading others from entering interracial relationships, whilst also ensuring the children could not claim any link to Belgium itself. The offspring of these biracial relationships were known colloquially as 'the children of shame'.


A lawyer acting on behalf of the women, told journalists:


"This is not for the money. We want a law that can apply to all so that the Belgian State recognises the crimes committed and the suffering endured by métis children."


The women are seeking 50,000 Euros each in compensation.


Belgium controlled what is now the DRC between 1908 and 1960, when the DRC gained independence. The rule, under King Leopold II, was extremely brutal even by colonial standards of the time. As many as 10 million Congolese were murdered or worked to death in order to make Belgium wealthier. There was also widespread use of amputations, particularly of arms, against individuals for petty crimes or for refusing to obey orders.


In 2019, the Belgian monarch and government expressed regret for the crimes committed by Belgium and, in 2020, statues of King Leopold were attacked by protestors in several cities across the country. The movement against the statues was largely inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement that was involved in many of the protests in the United States at that time. Despite these protests, most statues of King Leopold II remain in place.


[h/t: euronews]


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Thinking Humanity: Women Taken From Their Families And Forced Into Foster Homes Are Suing The Belgian Government For Crimes Against Humanity
Women Taken From Their Families And Forced Into Foster Homes Are Suing The Belgian Government For Crimes Against Humanity
Five women who were born in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and locked up in religious institutions as children are suing the Belgian governmen
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