UN ‘concerned’ about Belgium’s police violence and racial profiling
Share article:
Share article:

UN ‘concerned’ about Belgium’s police violence and racial profiling

© Belga

The United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) expressed concern over the alleged racist violence and profiling by police in Belgium.

The Committee said it was worried by the fact that racial profiling by police continued to be a persistent problem in Belgium and pointed to the absence of any law explicitly prohibiting racial profiling in a report published on Friday.

It also expressed concern at the vague formulation of the motives that could lead to police checks in the law on the function of the police and the absence of data on people targeted by police checks.

The Committee previously set out a series of recommendations in 2020, which it now reiterated:

  • Belgium should explicitly ban racial profiling;
  • It should adopt a plan of action against this problem;
  • It must take actions to promote diversity within the police;
  • It should improve data collection and set up a system for the registration of complaints related to the issue;
  • Belgium should use forms that lay out the reasons for police checks and the available avenues of recourse.

On the issue of “police violence of a racist nature,” the Committee said it was worried by the allegations of deaths in custody and of abuses inflicted on members of ethnic minorities, migrants, or asylum seekers.

Many such cases have been reported in Belgian media in recent years, include the death of a Slovak national who had been detained in a cell at Charleroi airport in 2018, the arrest and handcuffing of two children in Saint -Gilles last year, and during the Black Lives Matter protests in Brussels in June 2020 which aimed to highlight police brutality and racism.

The CERD highlighted that the coronavirus pandemic has increased the relevance of this report, and expressed concern that the abuses had reportedly increased with the enforcement of lockdown measures.

The Committee added that it was astonished that no members of the police had been indicted on racism charges and urged Belgium to take measures to guarantee prompt, full, and impartial investigations into racist incidents involving the police to ensure that those responsible are brought to trial.

On the topic of hate crimes and hate speech, the CERD called on Belgium to provide information on charges and convictions in this regard and expressed further concern at the many offences motivated by race hate reported since the start of the pandemic, specifically the targeting of people of Asian origin.

Further, it said it was worried by an increase in reported cases of hate speech, directed in particular against Jews and Muslims, and at increasingly abusive language on the Internet, particularly against migrants, refugees, and asylum speakers.

The CERD noted with satisfaction that Belgium had passed a law creating a federal institute for the protection and promotion of human rights in 2019, but invited it to take the measures needed to enable it to handle individual complaints, including cases of linguistic discrimination, a complaint often made by Francophone associations in Flanders.

The CERD said it welcomed the “frank” and “constructive” dialogue it had with Belgium, which presented its case to the Committee on 21 April.

The Brussels Times

Latest news

EU recognises UK Covid pass as ‘equivalent’ to EU Digital Covid Certificate
On Thursday, the European Commission adopted two new decisions certifying that the Covid-19 passes issued by the United Kingdom and Armenia are ...
Antwerp’s first garden street officially opens this weekend
Antwerp's very first "Garden Street" – which replaces tarmac roads with green spaces – will officially open this weekend. Situated on Lange ...
Belgium relaxes testing rules for UK travellers
At the Consultative Committee meeting on Tuesday, the Belgian authorities decided to relax the testing policy for travellers entering the country ...
Far-right MP calls for resistance against CST and face masks
Companies in Flanders should disobey the newly announced measures, according to Flemish group leader of the far-right Vlaams Belang party, Chris ...
How a clever cycling network brings bikers to Flanders
Belgium has always had a special relationship with cycling, but a clever Flemish system of route nodes makes it easier than ever. As Daniela De ...
Brexit fishing conflict escalates: France to adopt retaliatory measures
The conflict between France and the UK over fishing licences post-Brexit continues to escalate. France is set to adopt retaliatory measures ...
Mandatory from Monday: the new rules for Belgium’s Covid Safe Ticket
From Monday 1 November, presenting the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) will become mandatory in all hospitality businesses and fitness centres throughout ...
Car falls off opening bridge in Leuven, parents and child slightly injured
On Wednesday afternoon, a young family experienced the fright of their lives in Leuven when the bridge across the Vaartkom that they were driving on ...
Brussels and Wallonia once again dark red on European travel map
The Brussels-Capital Region and Wallonia have turned dark red in the latest update to the travel map by the European Centre for Disease Prevention ...
Belgium in Brief: What Now?
We've had the meeting, we know the results, and now the time has come to see what happens next. So I find myself wondering a simple question: ...
Floating solar farm to be built along Ostend coast next year
Dutch company Oceans of Energy has announced plans to construct a solar farm off the coast of Ostend next year that should eventually provide enough ...
Trial against Deliveroo begins in Brussels
The Labour Court of Brussels will hear a case on Thursday involving 27 couriers for Deliveroo, who are suing the platform for precarious working ...