Conviction for administrator of Facebook page of ‘Vlaamse Verdedigings Liga’
The administrator of the Facebook page of the Vlaamse Verdedigings Liga [Flemish Defence League] has received a ten months’ suspended sentence. According to the Antwerp court he incited his followers to racism. Unia was a civil party.
The Facebook page and administrator had already been known to Unia since 2013. We received at least 85 reports on various cases involving incitement of race hatred, mainly against the Muslim community.
Unia stresses the importance of the ruling of the Antwerp court. It does not often happen that this sort of circumstance leads to a trial, let alone that a conviction follows. Because many members of the public were indignant, it did happen this time. They revealed that the Facebook group posted certain articles in order to spread racist messages. Unia welcomes the action of the Public Prosecutor of Antwerp. This conviction is a serious warning for surfers who repeatedly spread and foster cyberhate.
Unia points out that any member of the public who sees this sort of messages can react to defend society. In addition, you can ask the page administrator or moderator to delete the message. Finally, any member of the public can also report hate messages to Unia.
In 2016 Unia opened 276 files on incitement of hatred. While in 2015 these hate messages specifically targeted refugees, in 2016 posts linked to terrorism were often involved. In these, Muslims are often equated with terrorists
A new project to improve the collection and processing of equality data in Belgium
"Improving equality data collection in Belgium" (IEDCB) is a Belgian project co-funded by the European Commission's Rights, Equality and Citizenship (REC) programme. It is carried out in partnership by the Equal Opportunities Team (FOD Justitie - SPF Justice) and Unia.
Unia worried about anti-Semitism in Belgium
Unia will today again press in anti-Semitism hearings in the Belgian Senate for the reintroduction of an anti-Semitism watchdog. The organisation will further ask Minister Kris Peeters, now responsible for Equal Opportunities, to take the first steps towards an inter-federal action plan against discrimination and racism.
More employment discrimination cases reported to Unia in 2017
Last year Unia opened a total of 2,017 cases of situations where people felt they were the subject of discrimination. This represents a 6% increase over 2016 (1,907 cases). Instances of employment discrimination were the most frequently opened cases at Unia.
Unia reacts to the report on discrimination by the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA)
Out of all survey-respondents of North African and Turkish origin who experienced discrimination in the past year in Belgium, 20% said it had occurred on the job market, while the European average on this point is 12%. This figure was brought to Unia’s attention in the Second EU-MIDIS report by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA).