Congolese Women Sue Belgium for Forced Separations

A Brussels court litigated a case filed against the state by five Congo-born women who were separated from their African mothers on Thursday, October 14. 

Lea Tavares Mujinga, Monique Bintu Bingi, Noelle Verbeken, Simone Ngalula and Marie-Jose Loshi, all born between 1945 and 1950, sued Belgium and hoped that it would reflect on its colonial past smeared with “crimes against humanity”. 

Between the years 1908 to 1960, fathers did not recognize their mixed-raced children which prompted authorities to separate biracial children away from their families and send them to orphanages or religious institutions.

The legal documents showed that the metis children, or “children of shame”, were abandoned by the Belgian state and church, and were molested by soldiers. 

Incumbent Belgian monarch King Philippe addressed the atrocities during the colonial period in 2020 through a letter that expressed regret for the “suffering and humiliation” caused by the state against Congo.

Further hearings are expected to be held as the case progresses in court.

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