"We must never forget that the movement for decolonization is part of a larger struggle against racism and discrimination"
Conference of results African civil society in the Brussels Parliament
Thursday, 24 September 2020 — For an entire summer, civil society representatives from the Congolese, Rwandan and Burundian diaspora discussed what our country should do with its colonial past, what their priorities are and where they think the focus should be. Today, they presented their findings to Brussels State Secretary Pascal Smet and to Wouter De Vriendt, president of the Truth Commission on the Colonial Past in the Federal Parliament. All of this happened on the initiative of the Brussels association Change and their president Dido Lakama. "We must never forget that the decolonization movement is part of a larger struggle against racism and discrimination," Lakama said.
"I heard you and my door is always open," said Wouter De Vriendt, chairman of the Truth Commission on the Colonial Past, which will begin on December 1. He attended a meeting of civil society from the African diaspora at the initiative of one.brussels in the Brussels Parliament. He left with a bunch of recommendations for the Truth Commission.
The main purpose of the meeting was to give impetus to greater involvement of African civil society, which sometimes feels somewhat neglected throughout the debate. “It is important that in addition to the experts, our experiences and voices are also heard,” the speakers said.
"Brussels always plays a pioneering role", declared Pascal Smet, Secretary of State who will soon work with a working group on the decolonization of public space ", also in the debate on the impact of the colonial past on our country. society. A city needs a common history, a background and a past, and we have to build this together. This could be done on the basis of a monument which shows that we are aware of our colonial past ".
The Truth Commission and Secretary of State Smet's task force show that action is also being taken at the political level. This is part of a long tradition, as evidenced by the emotional intervention of Monique Mbeka, whose father sat on the Belgo-Congolese round table in 1960. This civil society therefore asks to work on concrete actions having an impact. structural and sustainable on the company, and especially to always do it in collaboration with them.
"We ask you to do nothing without us," asked Billy Kalonji, one of the speakers. And that's exactly what Wouter De Vriendt promised.
Attached you will find the report of Afro-descendant civil society in preparation for the Truth Commission in the Federal Parliament.