Burundi wants Germany and Belgium to pay $43bn in reparations for colonial-era crimes

Nii Ntreh August 20, 2020
Burundi has been ravaged by civil wars for the last few decades. Photo Credit: UNOCHA.org

Burundi has asked former colonizers Germany and Belgium to pay about 36 billion ($42.6 billion) as reparative justice for when the two European nations controlled the east African territory that became a sovereign country.

Reports say Burundi’s upper legislative body has constituted a team of experts to critically assess how much is owed Burundi but the stipulative figure is in billions of euros.

The country is also ready to make its case before an appropriate international court.

Germany colonized the territory in 1890 as part of its German East Africa colonies. From these colonies, Germany sourced such commodities as cotton and coffee.

After losing World War I, one of Germany’s concessions included losing Burundi. From 1924 until 1962, Burundi came under Belgium control.

Belgian colonization was marked by various atrocities including the infamous kidnapping of Burundian biracial children to Belgium during the 1940s and 1950s. The children were then raised in Catholic institutions in Belgium.

Burundi would also like to revisit the death of Prime Minister Louis Rwagasore in 1961. A vocal proponent of full independence, Rwagasore was assassinated just a year before the Belgians handed over total control of the country.

In June, the Democratic Republic of Congo also requested reparations after Belgian King Philippe asked for forgiveness for Belgium’s brutal colonial history in the country. King Philippe was forced to render the apologies after the death of George Floyd sparked global anti-racist and anti-imperialist protests.

Post-independence Burundi has struggled to find the stability necessary for progress. In 1993, an inter-ethnic conflict between the country’s two biggest groups, Hutus and Tutsis, broke out.

Over 300,000 were killed over the 12-year civil war.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: August 20, 2020


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