UN experts say Belgium needs to apologise for colonialism

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UN experts say that racial discrimination "is endemic" in Belgium's institutions and that the nation needs to apologise for crimes committed during its colonisation of Congo.

The UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent said on Monday in an interim report on Belgium that "the root causes of present day human rights violations lie in the lack of recognition of the true scope of violence and injustice of colonisation."

King Leopold's reign over Congo from 1885 to 1908 was notorious for its brutality. Congo gained independence from Belgium in 1960.

The group will present its final conclusions in September. It lauded the Belgian government for its willingness to combat racism. Belgium's government said it will first assess the report before reacting.

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