Geneva Will Not Remove Statues Of Colonialists & Racists

Geneva Will Not Remove Statues Of Colonialists & Racists

Tue, May 7th 2024

Geneva decides against the removal of statues linked to racism and colonialism, focusing instead on contextualising their historical roles.

KEYSTONE/Salvatore Di Nolfi

The city of Geneva does not want to remove statues of people who supported racism, colonialism or slavery from public spaces. It also rejects the renaming of streets or squares. Instead, the authorities are focusing on contextualisation.

The city presented its action plan on the topic on Monday. No removal of statues or monuments is planned, said city president Alfonso Gomez. No controversial places will be renamed. Instead, the focus is on dialog – and on placing monuments in their historical context.

The city is also planning to set up a memorial to the victims of colonialism and slavery as well as a permanent exhibition on the subject.

A bust of Carl Vogt, for example, after whom a street is named, caused debate in the city on the Rhone. Although the scientist and politician advocated individual freedoms, he also held racist views. The bust is currently stored in the University of Geneva’s Les Bastions building due to renovation work. It is being discussed whether to move it to another location once the work has been completed.

The study also dealt with the memory of Gustave Moynier. The co-founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) supported the colonization of Congo by the Belgian King Leopold II and was appointed Consul General by him.


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