On the 21st of april of 2021 the OHCHR published a report of a meeting. The subject of the meeting was : In Dialogue with Belgium, Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Asks about Lack of Data on Ethnic Origin and the Removal of Belgian Nationality …
What was asked of Belgian authorities ?
This document is shocking for Belgians. What transpires is a fear by the UN and the Office of the High Commisioner for Human Rights that racism in Belgium is a major problem. That is also the reason why Belgium was not allowed to benefit from the simplified reporting procedure.
Committee Experts also asked the delegation to provide information about efforts to address issues related to education on racism and Belgium’s colonial past.
You can watch one of these meetings here : https://media.un.org/en/asset/k1v/k1v5d5z3qo …
The colonial past – regrets
As to the apologies for the colonial past of Belgium, Congo Free State and later on the Belgium colony of Congo, real apologies are still lacking. https://edition.cnn.com/2020/06/30/europe/belgium-drc-leopold-ii-regrets-scli-intl/index.html .
Regrets have been expressed but no formal apologies.
A reassessment of Belgium’s colonial legacy has taken place in the wake of the global Black Lives Matter protests, with several statues depicting the former leader have been taken down in the country. Earlier this month, Belgium’s parliament approved an inquiry into its colonial history, led by lawmaker Van Hoof.
We have not heard much about this recently.
Belgium has apologized for the kidnapping of thousands of mixed-race children from the Congo, Rwanda and Burundi.
Apologies for the atrocities committed in Congo Free State have not been offered nor those committed in the Congo – colony.
Education on racism …
There is a lot of work to do there but that is made impossible by the far right political parties in Flanders. Education is a regional matter in Belgium, not a national matter.
And if you are someone who wears a hijab, it’s probably going to be difficult to even get through education [because of bans on religious head coverings in schools].https://www.thebulletin.be/racial-discrimination-belgium-window-opportunity
One of the questions asked is shocking :
Mr. Diaby pointed out that, with regard to the removal of nationality, the Belgian nationality code had been significantly modified since 2012. Thus, articles 23 and 23/2 of the Belgian nationality code indicated that only “Belgians who do not derive their nationality from a Belgian author or adopter on the day of their birth and Belgians who had not been granted their nationality under articles 11 and 11bis” may be deprived of their Belgian nationality. This therefore created two categories of Belgians. Establishing abstract categories created a risk of discrimination in practice. The differences in treatment between different categories of Belgian citizens generated by this legislation were regularly the subject of criticism: a selection between so-called “native” Belgians and Belgians with an immigrant background.https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=27020&LangID=E
There are officially two people living in Belgium : natives and migrants, and the Belgian nationality code makes this very clear. You can not remove the nationality of a native Belgian, but migrant Belgians can be made stateless. In Belgium in 2021. Making people stateless is a crime against humanity … actually this is a violation of the Rome Declaration by the International Criminal Court. A crime against humanity. And Belgium stand to be persecuted and condemned if one the victims of this law opens proceedings at the ICC.
The problem of the present legal situation is : where do you draw the line ? When does a migrant become a non-Belgian. There is no clarity on this legal subject.
Education on racism
Other committee experts asked :
Other Committee Experts asked what measures had been taken to ensure access to justice for victims of crimes of racism. They also inquired about racial profiling, algorithmic racism, racism within the police and training on racial discrimination. How was the Government disaggregating offences related to racism from those related to discrimination, and identifying the needs of victims?https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=27020&LangID=E
When a black Member of the European Parliament gets treated badly by Belgian police (who later apologized) then something is off.
So we have a lot of work in Belgian with dealing with racism.
It is also kind of hard to press charges against the police who treated you in a racist way …