Belgium’s King Philippe ‘regrets’ colonial-era abuses in DRC

Belgium’s King Philippe expressed his “deepest regrets” for the pain inflicted during his country’s colonisation of the Democratic Republic of Congo, but stopped short of formally apologising for exploitation, racism and acts of violence.

“On the occasion of my first trip to the Congo… in front of the Congolese people and those who still suffer today, I wish to reaffirm my deepest regrets for the wounds of the past,” King Philippe said Wednesday, addressing a joint session of parliament in the capital, Kinshasa.

“Even though many Belgians were sincerely committed to loving the Congo and its people deeply, the colonial regime was based on exploitation and domination,” he said, during his first visit to Congo since taking the throne in 2013.

“This regime was one of unequal relations, in itself unjustifiable, marked by paternalism, discrimination and racism.” Philippe’s speech comes two years after he wrote similar regrets in a letter to mark the 60th anniversary of Congo’s independence, going further than any of his predecessors in condemning “acts of violence and cruelty” during Belgium’s colonial rule.

Credit: rfi


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