Human rights are now, more than ever, under threat worldwide, after 2015 was marked by suffering inflicted upon millions of individuals and draconian security and anti-terrorist measures imposed by governments Amnesty International warns in its annual report, which was published on Wednesday. Belgium has not been spared, points out Philippe Hensmans, the director of the Belgian-Francophone section of the organisation.
Both terrorist attacks and the terrorist threat have led the Belgian government to make “worrying [proposals] in respect of human rights”, such as the right to a private life (extending the reasons for deprivation of citizenship, lengthening the time limit for police custody and searches at any moment during investigations terrorism-linked. This is why it is necessary, as a first step, to “evaluate the initial measures which had already been taken before the Paris attacks in November,” stresses M. Hensmans.
“The danger is when these measures are either written in the Constitution or obliged to occur within the time period, as well as the switch from the courts to state organs” no longer having a judge decide a possible arrest or a warrant for someone’s arrest but a policeman, the individual thus having no right of action.
The organisation stresses the weaknesses of information services. “We must have services which are capable of penetrating organisations and groups, going inside networks and detecting what is being prepared so as to avert attacks.” With this aim in mind, it is not an extra superintendent in Molenbeek and extra teams of police who will really determine these issues.
The country is also being accused of mismanaging the refugee crisis. “The Belgian government found itself in a situation which had been generated by all of the previous governments”, with successively diminished means allocated for welcoming refugees, which was, moreover, insufficient when faced with an influx such as that of 2015.
Europe’s response in general has also been under attack. “The problem is that Europe continues to reflect on the problem in terms of borders, and has increased the difficulties for refugees to arrive, so as to check migrant flows.” However, this approach has been proved wrong and simply makes the journey more hazardous.