Belgium says sorry for forced removal of mixed-race children during colonial era

 edition.cnn.com  04/04/2019 18:01:36 
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The Catholic Church and other institutions then raised these children.

"In the name of the federal government, I apologize to the metis from the period of Belgian colonization and to their families for the injustices and the suffering that they went through."

The Catholic Church previously apologized for its role in the kidnappings in 2016.

The Prime Minister's apology marks the first time Belgium is taking official responsibility for the harm it caused during its colonial rule in Central Africa.

His remarks come shortly after a preliminary report released by the United Nations Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent after experts visited the country in February.

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"We urge the government to issue an apology for the atrocities committed during colonization," the report said.

It added: "There is clear evidence that racial discrimination is endemic in institutions in Belgium.

"The root causes of present-day human rights violations lie in the lack of recognition of the true scope of violence and injustice of colonization."

Belgium's reign in Central Africa lasted from the 1800s to 1960 where King Leopold II exploited rubber and other resources.

Millions were forced to labor under severe conditions where limbs were cut off for not meeting production quotas, and as many as 10 million people are believed to have died in just 20 years.
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