Unia calls for urgent action to fight structural discrimination against people of African origin
To mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Unia is publishing a report about the discrimination against people of African origin in Belgium and is making a series of recommendations. It is in the areas of employment, housing and education that the discriminations and inequalities suffered by this group are most keenly felt. "The contrast between their high level of education and their low level of employment is striking," says Els Keytsman and Patrick Charlier, Directors of Unia.
Still too few figures on inequality and discrimination in Belgium
There are still too few figures on inequality and discrimination in Belgium, say Unia and the Equal Opportunities Team of the Federal Public Service (FPS) Justice. “For example, if you want to find out whether people of other origins have equal access to healthcare in Belgium, it will be difficult to find reliable data. We urgently need more high-quality data to map equality or inequality in key domains in Belgium”, emphasizes Els Keytsman, director of Unia.
Unia is here for you - coronavirus or not
Pandemic or not, we are here to combat discrimination. Unia is here to listen and to help. Subject, of course, to the appropriate precautions. How does this affect you?
No major progress in the lives of persons with disabilities
1144 people participated in a study launched by Unia about obstacles that make it difficult for persons with disabilities to exercise their rights. Most respondents state that there has been no major progress in recent years. Being able to lead a decent life appears to be one of the biggest concerns.
Unia takes a stand for getting along together, even in times of corona crisis
The corona crisis that is gripping our country has fuelled mutual distrust among citizens. “We notice that there is a strong tendency to look for culprits or scapegoats”, says Els Keytsman, director of Unia. “This is a trend that we must counteract. Nobody benefits from it. We would do much better to support the countless forms of solidarity created by the pandemic. The corona crisis is certainly not over yet. We have to learn to live with this virus without destroying the solidarity in our society.”
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.
Number of reports of discrimination rises by over 13%
In 2019, Unia saw a continued upward trend in the number of reports and cases concerning discrimination. ‘The number of reports was 13.2% higher than in 2018, while the caseload increased by 6.9%. On social media, we are seeing harsher language, about people with disabilities, Muslims and refugees, for example’, says Unia director Els Keytsman. ‘There is a normalisation of hate speech on social media, as well as on the street.’
The ban on full-face veils and the Covid-19 pandemic
From a human rights perspective, the decree on face masks is particularly interesting, especially if we take into account the fact that in some European countries wearing full-face veils in public spaces is prohibited by law and can lead to sanctions (i.e. fines, prison, administrative fines).
#GiveMe1Minute video competition: more than 100 schools against racism
"The #GiveMe1Minute video competition will be held again," announced Els Keytsman, director of Unia, at the school competition's first award ceremony in Kazerne Dossin. "More than 100 entries came in from the length and breadth of Belgium, and the competition was a huge success."
Unia recognised internationally as a National Human Rights Institution
Unia was recently recognised as a national institution for the protection of human rights, B status, by the competent international bodies. Unia received this recognition for its independence and commitment to human rights, such as the right to equal opportunities and non-discrimination.