UN’s CERD committee concerned about "racist violence by Belgian police"

The United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) has expressed concerns about racist violence by police officers in Belgium. The Committee has called on the authorities here to take action to address the issue. 

According to CERD, a committee made up of 18 independent experts, Belgium had already taken several good measures to address the issue of racism. The measures taken to address discrimination in the workplace are quoted as one example of this. Nevertheless, in its report CERD says that there are still issues that give cause for concern.

Racist police violence is one such issue. CERD says that since the onset of the coronavirus crisis and during the recent anti-racism demonstrations there have been numerous reports of police violence. CERD says that ethnic profiling is used and that police carry out identity and other checks on individuals based on their ethnic origin. Reports have also been received of members of the public suffering racial abuse at the hands of the police. Finally, the Committee also has issues with the way in which members of the Romani community are treated.

CERD asks the Belgian authorities to subject any allegations of racist incidents involving the police to a thorough and independent investigation. It also calls for greater diversity within our police services. Belgium should also prohibit ethnic profiling and set up a body to deal with complaints of alleged incidents of ethnic profiling.

CERD adds that Belgium should do more to trace and punish those that publish racist outbursts on social media. CERD checks that the 182 countries that have signed up to the UN convention on the elimination of racial discrimination abide by its conditions. 

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