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UN says Belgium needs to apologise for crimes committed during colonial era in Congo

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 overnight 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.

Flags of the 193 member countries of the United Nations flying from a row of flag poles at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland
Flags of the 193 member countries of the United Nations flying from a row of flag poles at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland Source: istock.com