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Un persuade Belgian Police on Racism issue

Belgium must do more to tackle racism among the police and other law enforcement officers. The country urgently needs to introduce a legal ban on ethnic profiling and ensure thorough, independent investigation of racist incidents involving the police.

The Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), a United Nations organization, advises this in a report and also notes “concerns about reports of increased police violence during the corona pandemic.”

For years, the CERD has been pushing for better legislation and measures against police violence, xenophobia and structural racism in Belgium. Allegations of maltreatment of civilians, protesters and detainees or blame for their deaths during or after a police crackdown are not new and events that seem out of order regularly startle the country.


For example, agents in Brussels took 23-year-old Ibrahima Barrie to the police station one evening in January because he was hanging out with a group of young people outside the corona rules. At the station, he reportedly became unwell during the search. He died in hospital not much later. The case is being investigated by the Public Prosecution Service (OM).

In August last year, shocking images emerged of an injured Slovak man in a police cell in Charleroi, with two smiling officers on top of his chest. The man died in hospital the next day. In 2019, two young people were killed in various incidents in a collision with the police.

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The CERD advises Belgium to pay more attention to racism in the training of the police and to ensure more diversity in the police forces. There should also be an independent body to handle complaints.

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