Between January 2010 and December 2016, Unia, the Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities, opened 64 cases related to the climate of fear or counter-terrorism measures, according to a report from the Centre published on Friday. All things being equal, the increase of these cases constitutes at least “an alert signal”.
The increase occurred mainly after the attacks in Paris on 13 November 2015 and those committed in Brussels on 22 March 2016. The Centre opened 10 new cases between those two dates and 40 between 22 March and 31 December 2016.
When an applicant contacts Unia, the Centre files a description report. If said report falls within their scope of competence and the concerned person desires assistance, a case is then opened.
Unia points in particular the new nature of some insults in the reports, citing the example of “dirty terrorist”, which is regularly reported. Cases of bullying in the workplace are also cited, including statements such as “go take care of your bombs”.
Complaints for withdrawal or denial of security clearance in sensitive areas (airport, nuclear power plant, police, etc.) have also been received. Seven cases of this type were opened last year, for suspicions of “links to radical elements”.
An appeal to a body composed of the chairmen of the P Committee, the R Committee and the Commission for the Protection of Privacy is always possible. Six appeals were introduced. Although not all of them were deemed admissible, none were declared unfounded. “Although the absolute number of cases received and processed is not huge, it is undeniably a new phenomenon” and a warning signal, concludes Unia.
The Centre for Equal Opportunities therefore advocates for clear laws “based on a comprehensive and thorough evaluation of the previous anti-terrorist laws”.