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Launch of a working group on the presence of colonial symbols in public spaces

In the context of the debate on the presence of colonial symbols in public spaces in the Brussels-Capital Region, the Secretary of State for Urbanism and Heritage took the initiative on behalf of the Government to create a working group responsible for proposing elements for discussion about the attitude to be taken by the Government with regard to such symbols, within the framework of the Region's powers. The objective is to develop a vision for the Region throughout its territory. In order to set up this working group, a call for applications has been launched until 28 September 2020. Applications including an application letter and a presentation of skills (preferably in the form of a CV) must be submitted before 28.09.2020, either by e-mail to staff@urban.brussels or by post for the attention of: Urban - Directorate General, 10-13 Mont des Arts, B-1000 Brussels.

Details:

Secretariat

The secretariat for the working group will be provided by Urban.

Composition

The working group will be comprised of leading figures from the academic and associative worlds. Urban will make the selection based on the following criteria:

expertise or proven experience in the field of heritage, colonial history and decolonisation or knowledge of the Congolese diaspora; the representative nature of the individual's academic or associative world; the group should be balanced and represent diversity (gender, age, etc.). There will be a good balance between the academic and associative worlds.

The working group will also include of a representative from Urban and the CRMS and a representative from the Brussels municipalities concerned. Brussels Mobility will be involved in the discussion about street names.

The working group will also be composed of a representative from the office of the Secretary of State for Urbanism and Heritage and a representative from the office of the Minister for Mobility for the discussion about street names, who will act as observers.

In order to ensure that discussions are properly conducted, the working group will have a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 20 members. Other interested persons will be involved in a way to be defined by the working group.

The working group will choose a coordinator or a pair of coordinators.

Missions

The working group will focus its work on the basis of a heritage perspective, in its various dimensions, while paying special attention to the different values conveyed by heritage (memorial, social, historical, aesthetic, etc.).

The group's task will be to draft an interim report by the end of 2020 and a final report in 2021.This report must propose practical measures and an action plan that can be implemented over the short and long term.

The working group must address the following points in particular:

propose elements for consideration as to the attitude to be taken by the Government regarding applications for planning permission and the naming of roads with regard to symbols of migration or colonisation in the public space; propose elements for consideration as to the attitude to be taken by the Government regarding the context of movable heritage concerning symbols of migration or colonisation in the public space; propose elements for consideration as to the attitude to be taken by the Government regarding the return of human remains from the colonial period, as these are part of the movable heritage of regional interest; analyse the opportunity for a memorial to decolonisation.

The working group will potentially contribute to other working groups and institutionalised reflection frameworks focusing on decolonisation, racism, memory work and reconciliation. The working group will then be able to share its thoughts on heritage and public space with the federal working group.

Timetable

13 July 2020: Launch of the call for applications

October 2020: Approval of the composition of the working group

Late October 2020: Launch of the working group

Early 2021: Interim report of the working group

2021: Final Report

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