Coronavirus: Belgium accused of violating prisoners’ human rights
Thursday, 23 July 2020
About 50 families of prisoners are filing a complaint against the Belgian state for violating the human rights of prisoners, Het Belang van Limburg reports on Thursday.
Since the start of the new coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, prisoners are no longer allowed to physically touch their relatives in prison.
Prison visits have been strictly limited since the start of the coronavirus crisis, after they were initially banned. “Yet visits to other places, such as nursing homes, are now allowed,” said Iris Greeven, the wife of a prisoner and spokesperson for the families.
“Prisoners and their relatives feel discriminated against compared to the rest of society regarding their right to private and family life. In her numerous speeches, Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès has not said a word about their situation or expressed any support since the beginning of the crisis,” Greeven said.
Not all prisons were subject to the same measures, which also posed a problem for the families. “In some prisons it is possible to see your partner three times a week, in others, such as Hasselt, only once. The visit takes place at a distance of about two metres, separated by Plexiglas. Having a conversation is impossible.”