In response to persistent allegations of abuse and exploitation of the native inhabitants of the so-called "Congo Free State" ruled by King Leopold II of Belgium, the British Consul in the colony, Roger Casement, was assigned by the British government to conduct an investigation. Despite the fact that his report to the British Parliament confirmed the accusations, the atrocities in the Congo continued more or less unabated.

Excerpts from The Casement Report (1904)

“They had endured such ill-treatment at the hands of the Government officials and soldiers that nothing had remained but to be killed for failure to bring in rubber or to die in their attempts to satisfy the demands.”

“A widow came and declared that she had been forced to sell her daughter, a little girl about ten.… I found on returning that the statements made with regard to the girl were true.… The girl had again changed hands and was promised in sale to a town whose people are open cannibals.”

“At a village I touched at up the Lulanga River…the people complained that there was no rubber left in their district, and yet that the La Lulanga Company required of them each fortnight [every two weeks] a fixed quantity they could not supply. Three forest guards of that company were quartered, it was said, in this village, one of whom I found on duty, the two others, he informed me, having gone to Mampoka to convoy the fortnight's rubber. No livestock of any kind could be seen or purchased in this town, which had only a few years ago been a large and populous community, filled with people and well stocked with sheep, goats, ducks and fowls. Although I walked through most of it, I could only count ten men, with their families. There were said to be others in the part of the town I did not visit, but the entire community I saw were living in wretched houses and in visible

“The population of the lake-side towns would seem to have diminished within the last ten years by 60 or 70 percent. It was in 1893 that the effort to levy an india rubber imposition [tax] in this district was begun, and for some four or five years this imposition could only be collected at the cost of continual fighting. Finding the task of collecting india rubber a well-nigh impossible one, the authorities abandoned it in this district, and the remaining inhabitants now deliver a weekly supply of foodstuffs for the up-keep of the military camp at Irebu, of the big coffee plantation at Bikoro.”

“In the past they escaped in large numbers to the French territory, but many were prevented by force from doing this, and numbers were shot in the attempt.”

R.R., a Congolese interviewed by Casement: “I ran away with two old people, but they were caught and killed, and the soldiers made me carry the baskets holding their cut-off hands. They killed my little sister, threw her in a house, and set it on fire.”

A refugee from the rubber-producing regions, interviewed by Casement “We had to go further and further into the forest to find the rubber vines, to go without food, and our women had to give up cultivating the fields and gardens. Then we starved. Wild beasts—leopards—killed some of us when we were working away in the forest, and others got lost or died from exposure and starvation, and we begged the white man to leave us alone, saying that we could get no more rubber, but the white men and their soldiers said: 'Go! You are only beasts yourselves.'”

U.U., a Congolese interviewed by Casement: “As we fled, the soldiers killed ten children, in the water. They killed a lot of adults, cut off their hands, put them in baskets, and took them to the white man, who counted 200 hands…. One day, soldiers struck a child with a gun-butt, cut off its head, and killed my sister and cut off her head, hands and feet because she had on rings.”