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Belgium apologises for the kidnappings of over 20,000 mixed-race children in the colonial era

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel has apologised for the kidnapping of thousands of children born
to mixed-race couples during the colonial rule of Burundi, DR Congo and Rwanda.
The “métis” children born to Belgian settlers and local women were forcibly taken to Belgium and
fostered by Catholic orders and other institutions. About 20,000 children are believed to have been
affected. Most fathers refused to acknowledge paternity of their children.
Some of the children, born in the 1940s and 1950s, never received Belgian nationality and remained
stateless. Speaking in the Belgian parliament, Prime Minister Michel said the country had breached the
children’s basic human rights, seeing them as a threat to the colonial system.
It had, he said, stripped them of their identity, stigmatized them and split up siblings. “I vow that this
solemn moment will represent a further step towards awareness and recognition of this part of our
national history,” he said in his statement.

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