Religious and philosophical beliefs

A college adopts a new regulation preventing the wearing of head coverings of any kind, a Sikh is refused for the job of a cook because he has a beard, an employee asks an employer to provide an area for prayer during breaks, etc. 

People can show their religious or philosophical beliefs through their behaviour or dress. For instance they may attend certain services or activities, follow certain practices, or display an outward symbol of their convictions.

The freedom to do so - i.e. the freedom of religious belief - is a constitutional right and a fundamental human right in Belgium. It gives you the freedom to choose what to believe in and how to practise it. It also means that there is no need to conceal or declare it. And that extends to philosophical beliefs such as atheism, agnosticism and free-thinking.  

The diversity of religious or philosophical beliefs can sometimes provoke strong reactions: in the workplace, at school, in public areas, etc. If (for no good reason) a person is treated differently because of their (actual or assumed) religious or philosophical beliefs, this is seen as discrimination, which is forbidden. Hate messages and hate crimes are criminal offences.   

However, the right to show your religious or philosophical beliefs openly is not absolute. For specific reasons and in certain circumstances an outward display of your religious or philosophical beliefs may be restricted or even prohibited.


How can Unia help?

At Unia we fight discrimination on the grounds of religious or philosophical belief in all areas of society within the scope of our competencies. This brings us into consultation with different sectors, governments and civil society.

Victim or witness
of discrimination?

Report it!