The European Court of Human Rights found that Belgium had violated the right to a fair trial. The authorities took the first steps towards the creation of a National Human Rights Institution.
The government was found to have used evidence that may have been obtained by torture in a trial of a terrorism suspect.
Psychiatric facilities for prisoners with mental disabilities continued to be inadequate. On 2 October the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Belgium had violated the right to liberty and security of L.B., a man with mental health problems, by detaining him for over seven years in prison facilities which were inadequate for his condition.
In December, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture expressed concerns over overcrowding and inadequate sanitary facilities in many Belgian prisons.Top of page
Discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief continued, especially against Muslims, in public education and in the workplace. The general prohibition on wearing religious and cultural symbols and dress remained in force in Flemish public education.
A law criminalizing the concealing of the face in public remained in force. On 6 December, the Constitutional Court ruled that the law was consistent with Belgium’s constitution and obligations under international law.Top of page
In January, the authorities increased the number of spaces in reception centres for asylum-seekers. However, places remained insufficient, and undocumented migrant families were still denied access. Some unaccompanied minors were housed in inadequate facilities, where they did not receive adequate legal, medical and social assistance.Top of page
On 21 March, the European Committee of Social Rights found that Belgium had violated the non-discrimination clause of the European Social Charter as well as the right of the family to social, legal and economic protection on account of the inadequate provision of temporary and permanent sites for Travellers.Top of page
In June, the Flemish and Walloon parliaments passed new regional legislation on the import, export and transfer of arms, imposing inadequate checks on the final destination of the weapons sold.Top of page
In July, the authorities decided to establish a National Human Rights Institution.
On 11 September, Belgium signed the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.Top of page