Tag Archives: Belgium

Belgium hosts Laurent Gbagbo

Belgium has agreed to host Cote d’Ivoire ex-President Laurent Gbagbo following his acquittal by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.
The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Belgium had agreed to welcome the former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo, who is released on conditions, as announced by the International Criminal Court, after his acquittal in January for crimes against humanity.

Belgium has accepted the request of the International Criminal Court to host former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo on its territory, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Belga news agency. The International Criminal Court (ICC) released conditionally Mr. Gbagbo, acquitted more than two weeks ago of crimes against humanity committed in 2010 and 2011 during post-election violence in CĂ´te d’Ivoire.

Belgium has received a request for cooperation from the Court because of family ties of Laurent Gbagbo in our country,” said Karl Lagatie, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Belgium supports the international criminal courts and we have responded positively to this request.”

Laurent Gbagbo have to be available to the Court for the duration of the appeal, the ministry added.

According to the Belgian press, one of Gbagbo‘s wives – Nady Bamba (47), lives there with their son.  Alghouth Christain Mr.Gbagbo has two wives: the First Lady (2000-2010) of Cote d’Ivore Simone Gbagbo (69) and Nady Bamba.
Simone Gbagbo was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2015 in CĂ´te d’Ivoire for her responsibility. in the tragic events of 2010-2011, described as an attack on state security. In 2018, she received an amnesty decreed by the incumbent President Alassane Ouattara.

It was a request from the court to host Mr Gbagbo simply because he has family in Belgium: his second wife, a child in Brussels,” Foreign Minister Didier Reynders told RTBF, Begium’s public television channel, on February 2.

We have concluded that it is alright for him to stay in Belgium while on conditional release,” he said, adding that the “conditions” of his stay would be discussed with the ICC including “limits” on Gbagbo‘s movements.

 

Egmont Royal Institute internship

Egmont Royal Institute for International relations offers paid internship opportunity:  Education & Training Programme (Fr-Eng):

Le Programme Education & Formation de l’Institut Egmont cherche à recruter un(e) stagiaire à Bruxelles pour une durée de 6 mois, débutant le 1er mars 2019.

Le stage consistera en un soutien logistique et organisationnel du Programme Education & Formation, ainsi qu’en une participation à l’élaboration stratégique de futures formations (par exemple : formations en Pratiques diplomatiques ; Partenariat avec des Ecoles Nationales d’Administration en Afrique subsaharienne ; formations en Gestion civile des crises).

Qualifications requises pour le stage :

  • Niveau master ou Ă©quivalent ;
  • MaĂ®trise professionnelle du français et de l’anglais (tâches de rĂ©daction dans les deux langues).La connaissance du nĂ©erlandais est un plus ;
  • Multi-tasking, dynamisme et rĂ©sistance au stress pendant les pĂ©riodes de formation.

Sont un atout :

  • ExpĂ©rience dans ou en rapport avec la diplomatie et/ou les administrations publiques, notamment en ambassades, dans un Ministère, ou dans l’organisation de confĂ©rences avec des diplomates et/ou du personnel d’administrations publiques ;
  • ExpĂ©rience dans l’organisation d’évènements et/ou dans la gestion de projets (budget, Ă©laboration des plannings et chronogrammes).

Le Programme Education & Training offre un stage:

  • dans un environnement et une Ă©quipe dynamique et en pleine croissance, avec une dĂ©lĂ©gation de tâches intĂ©ressante ;
  • qui permet de rencontrer un grand nombre de professionnels, acadĂ©miques, diplomates et d’amĂ©liorer ses connaissances du fonctionnement des institutions prĂ©sentes Ă  Bruxelles et en Belgique (OTAN, SEAE, Parlement europĂ©en, Parlement belge, ReprĂ©sentations permanentes belges, Port d’Anvers) ;
  • rĂ©munĂ©rĂ© de 900 € par mois.

 Merci d’adresser votre candidature sous forme de CV et lettre de motivation dans un fichier PDF commun avant le 13 février 2019 à l’adresse suivante : e.trappeniers@egmontinstitute.be

Image below: d’Egmont Palace, Brussels

egmontpalace

D’Egmont palace is used for receptions and meetings by the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and hosts many events organized by the Royal Institute for International Relations.

 

Cameroon masterpiece at BRAFA

Brussels Antiques & Fine Art Fair (BRAFA) traditionally presents a sophisticated collection of masterpieces of African art, and this year event reaffirms its excellence, sharing with art lovers rare, and mythic objects of authentic cultures.

Doustar Gallery, Brussels displays an extraordinary 19th century piece of Cameroon art: Atwonzen, a beaded head, worn in ancient mysterious rituals by chiefs of Bamileke people in Dschang region.  (Image below).

“Art Without Frontiers” is the motto of BRAFA ambitious to celebrate art from every continent and every culture, which has been one of the strengths of the Fair, and one of the reasons explaining its international success. Masterpieces from Africa, America, the Middle East, Asia and Oceania broaden the horizons, and inspire, while bringing visitors in contact with the other forms of art and expression, to other representations and fascinating different visions of the world.

dsc_0665

The BRAFA Art Fair, created in 1956, is one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious art fairs, famous for the high quality fine art, antiques, modern and contemporary art and design. The Fair lasts for 9 days from the end of January to the beginning of February. The first major art event of the year, it is considered a reliable barometer of the art market.

atwonzen

Louis Michel receives death threats

Since the end of  2018 a prominent Belgium politician, Louis Michel  has been attacked by Congolese opponents and received several letters containing death threats, media reports. (Image: archive).

I have received several threatening letters, I have refused close protection but I am under surveillance, I do not want to say more,” said Louis Michel, the Member of the European parliament (MEP),  former European Commissioner and father of the incumbent Prime Minister.

The threats launch started on December 10, in Oslo, during the presentation of the Nobel Peace Prize to Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege, after which a dozen Congolese opponents of the Union pour la Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) movement attacked the politician.

During the month of December, Louis Michel again received letters containing explicit death threats at his home in Jodoigne.

The MEP complained and the case was taken seriously by the State Security who offered him close protection. As he confirms himself, he has not accepted it but he has been under discreet surveillance ever since.

Polls taken over the last decade indicate that roughly 75% of Congolese population self identify as members of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS).

From 1908 until independence in 1960 the Congo used to be a colony of Kingdom of Belgium. The former colony adopted its name – the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 1964.

 

Marrakesh: leaders sign Global Compact

Speaking at the start of the UN conference in Marrakesh where  states gather to adopt the so-called Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, the Secretary General Antonio Guterres promoted the initiative, insisting developed countries needed more migration due to their declining birth rates and aging populations.

In July all 193 UN members except the United States concluded the non-binding pact of a highly political nature. But since then, the text has come under scrutiny from right-wing European politicians who are convinced it could lead to an increase in migration flows, and the courts would lose the tool to extradite the illegal migrants as the difference between legal and illegal migration would disappear.

At least six European Union members – mostly in Eastern Europe – have shunned the accord. On Sunday, hours ahead of the conference, Chile was the latest country to pull out, while Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel faced collapse of the governing coalition, with resignation of his ministers.

Although depicted as an achievement, the Declaration continues to provoke criticism over its ambiguity not only from right-wing, but also from center right. The European Parliament did not adopt the Resolution of Global Compact in November plenary, the failure regarded as a blow to the image of the initiative. Subsequently the European Parliament delegation had a humble presence.

In spite of the ambivalence, and criticism the signature of Global Compact is a huge step forward to eliminate the concept of ‘illegal migrants’, and create a world without borders.

 

 

Belgium Africa Museum metamorphose

A new permanent exhibition of renovated African Museum is reflecting the image of modern Africa, focusing on present and future of the continent, taking a clear break from the concept of the past, narrating the European-centered view on African civilization. Undergoing a major reform, one century old notorious institution known as the Palace of Colonies, and later as Royal Museum for Central Africa, mainly focused on Congo, aims to get rid of the shadows of the past, without abandoning shared history.

On December 8  the African Museum opened it doors after five years renovation,  completely refurbishing the collection display in framework of a new philosophy. Next to the classical themes of masks and rituals, there are the new ones to arise, forming dazzling artifacts display telling stories of daily life and diaspora, languages and music, climate change, biodiversity, and the paradox of natural wealth.

We have developed a critical narrative of the colonial past, compared to one-sided perspective we used to offer” said the Museum Director Guido Gryseels.”We wish to become a ‘site of remembrance’ for both Belgians and Congolese, but not only a monument reminiscent of the past, much more of a dynamic platform for debate on future, welcoming all the opinions”.

We have definitely tried to develop a balanced narrative, by collating facts and memories to depict the most  comprehensive image, offering everyone an opportunity to the personal opinion of their own“, Mr. Gryseels concluded referring to a new mindset of the Museum. “We developed our approach based on the available, scientifically objective research. We morally distance ourselves from King Leopold II policy  as the ruler of the Congo Free State”. 

 

 

African Museum “half-celebration”

In spite of the €66 million investment into the renovation of the Africa Museum, and five years of intense reconstruction, for the representatives of Congolese diaspora the re-opening of a new concept institution is just a “half-celebration“, because the  in de-colonisation process should go “much further“.

Developing a new concept of Belgium Africa Museum its leadership invited  Africans themselves from the countries of the continent, and from diaspora to share their narrative, creating a genuine and meaningful platform for the debate, a work in process to reflect the continuous evolution of societies, and cultures towards each other, marking a clear break with the Colonial Palace Museum from the times of King Leopold II.

With this Museum Africa receives the place it merits – Africa existed before the colonization” – Billy Calonji from Congolese diaspora commented, reflecting on complex shared history of Belgium and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). (VIDEO below in French language).

Through decades the Museum has been experiencing a fundamental cultural evolution, moving from West-centered vision of Africa to modern concept of a multi-polar world, and multi-cultural societies. From once upon a time a Colonial Palace with Royal collections of artifacts of Belgium kings it reshaped itself into modern fascinating platform for communications between people, cultures, and  civilizations.

Among precious experiences and metamorphosis of the Museum special place close to the  heart of Africans is kept for the ceremony of commemoration honoring the seven Congolese who did not survive the climate and perished being brought by the King Leopold II for the Universal Exhibition of 1897. A group of  267 Congolese was “imported” to stay in practiced in those days “human zoo”, re-creating life of Bantu tribes in Free State of Congo for the expo visitors.

On the sidelines of the reopening of the Africa Museum scheduled for this Saturday, December 8, a commemorative service has been held at noon in front of the seven graves lined up along the Saint-Jean Church, Tervuren. A week earlier a commemorative plate was installed in the Museum parc  to engrave the memory of those Congolese in a symbolic gesture to mark the place of the exhibition village. “We asked them for pardon, and we hope that the direction the Museum takes, is the way they could have wished”, Mr.Calonji continued.

However the shadows of the past are not able to overwhelm the vibrant future ahead of the Museum as a platform for debate, culture, and African studies which  are assessed as the positive elements by Billy Calonji, who holds in high esteem African diaspora efforts, actively participating in creating a new concept of African Museum, but nevertheless the work should continue even further.

During the renovation works the Museum has developed close relationships with members of African diaspora in Belgium in pursue of a new mindset: a synergy in cooperation within modern multicultural Belgium society, and beyond.

The partnerships with national museum in Rwanda, Musée des civilisations noires in Senegal, the national museum of Congo in Kinshasa, and in Lubumbashi have been developed.

A little bit of patience is needed, while waiting for the opening of the Museum in Kinshasa in Congo” said Mr.Calonji, refereing to the scheduled for the end of 2019 event, awaited by lovers of African art and culture, expecting to bring the dialogue between civilizations to a next stage.

In its engagement to overcome the notorious legacy of Belgium  colonial past, hundreds of artifacts were returned to Africa: to the Institute of National Museums of Congo in Kinshasa, and to the National Museum of Rwanda in Butare, but the work will go on the Director of the Museum Guido Gryseels confirmed. The digitisation of a significant  parts of archive has been undertaken to hand in the originals to Rwanda Museum.

We acknowledge that the moral ownership of the objects is with Africans themselves” said Mr.Gryseels  to international press at the preview visit.

 

 

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