Newsletter 07/22 - Reparations to the Democratic Republic of Congo

On July 17, 2020, following the fall of colonial symbols, the Chamber of Representatives of Belgium approved the establishment of a Special Parliamentary Commission on the Belgian Colonial Past which presented on 27 October 2021 the First Experts' Report, with a thorough examination of the Belgian colonial past and the recommendation of different forms of reparation. The Commission's mandate ends in December 2022, but Belgian civil society is asking for an extension so that the final report paves the way for a holistic and long-term engagement on Belgium's colonial past.

On June 8, 2022 the King of Belgium Philippe in his speech in Kinshasa during the State visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo reaffirms his deepest regret for the wounds of the colonial past, already expressed on June 30, 2020 in his letter of congratulation for the sixtieth anniversary of the independence of Congo. So still no excuses, as well as the kakuungu mask of the colonial era now exhibited at the Kinshasa National Museum has been returned as a long-term loan and not definitively.

On June 20, 2022 the Prime Minister of Belgium Alexander De Croo returns to the family the remains of the Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo Patrice Lumumba, stolen by a Belgian officer while he was making his corpse disappear by dissolving it in acid. The mortal remains of Patrice Lumumba are buried with an impressive ceremony in the presence of the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo FĂ©lix Tshisekedi in the mausoleum dedicated to him in Kinshasa.

Colonialism Reparation asks that Belgium present apologies and reparations for the colonial period to the Democratic Republic of Congo finally repairing the crimes committed during one of the most brutal colonizations in history, in a similar way to the reparations recognized by the International Court of Justice for violations of human rights and the exploitation of natural resources by Uganda.