The 48th Session of the UN Human Rights Council
13 September - 8 October 2021
ITEM 6: Adoption of the Universal Periodic Review on Belgium - 30 September 2021
Statement delivered on behalf of Meezaan Center for Human Rights
Presented by: Tristan Arlaud
Thank you, President. We welcome Belgium's strong consideration and acceptance of all recommendations from the previous 2016 UPR.
It is also pleasing to know that the country has ratified the Istanbul Convention and became a vital contributor to eradicating violence against women. Nonetheless, as we appreciate the increase in efforts made by the government in reducing domestic and gender-based violence, we remain concerned about the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on the matter. We demand a better action plan to be implemented to collect accurate data and for the assigned authorities to conduct actual monitoring missions in line with the obligations of the Istanbul Convention.
Meezaan Center for Human Rights and Geneva International Centre for Justice remain distressed about the rise in racism, xenophobia, islamophobia and ethnic profiling by police forces. Even though awareness was raised among authorities, according to civil society and the media, the government has not enacted any explicit laws targeting such misconducts. In light of the events in the USA with George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement, it is clear that the fight against hate speech and racism is far from being over. Therefore, this should be one of Belgium's priorities. According to the Durban Declaration and Program of Action, akin to many European countries, the nation should continuously adapt its legislative system to stamp out such behaviors.
On another note, we urge Belgium to establish a National Human Rights Institution in line with the Paris Principles, to protect all citizens from human rights violations better. Finally, to ratify the Optional Protocol on the Convention against Torture and the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrants Workers and Members of their Families.
Thank you very much.