10 CURRENT BEST PRACTICES
- The publication of several diversity barometers by Unia. These diversity barometers
provide data and statistics, which are crucial to addressing discrimination issues in
the fields of employment, housing and education in Belgium.444 The last one,
published in 2018, focuses on measuring discrimination and inequalities in the
education system.445 In particular, it identifies the risks of discrimination against
pupils on the ground of their social or ethnic origin, disability or sexual orientation at
school. It was the result of long-term scientific research carried out by KU Leuven-
HIVA, the learning and diversity research centre of Ghent University and ULB-GERME.
In order to carry out this study and the subsequent report, Unia received funding
from the three community Ministers of Basic Education and the Minister of Equal
Opportunities of the French-speaking Community. Unia coordinated the research, and
political recommendations have been formulated through a combination of the results
of the study and the expertise of Unia.
- In December 2018, the Senate voted unanimously for a resolution against
antisemitism. This resolution aims to make the Government appoint a national
coordinator of the fight against antisemitism; to reinstate the antisemitism watch
unit and to have better and clearer annual statistics on the number of antisemitic
aggressions, the number of cases opened and the number of actual convictions. In
March 2019, Kris Peeters (then federal Minister for Equal Opportunities) convened a
meeting of the Antisemitism Watch Unit for the first time in five years.
- On 25 April 2019, the Belgian Federal Chamber of Representatives adopted a
legislative act that allows for the creation of a Federal Institute for the Protection and
the Promotion of Human Rights.446 This is the first institute universally competent in
respect of Human Rights, unlike the several different specialised bodies (e.g. Unia:
discrimination; Myria: migrants’ rights; IEFH: gender equality, …), whose respective
jurisdictions will remain untouched. In order to achieve an overall coverage of
fundamental rights, it was decided to define the competence of the new body in a
‘complementary’ or ‘residual’ way. Thus, this new federal institute would be
competent to ensure the respect of all fundamental rights, in the federal fields not
covered by an existing specialised body. The institute is intended to work in close
cooperation with the specialised public bodies active in the field of human rights and
take part in the human rights network. At this stage it is not entirely clear what role
the institute is going to play in the field of discrimination as it will have to define its
action in complementarity with the mandate of Unia and the Institute for the Equality
of Women and Men. The institute will have a consultative role and will be able to
intervene in front of the judiciary and the Constitutional Court (see section 7, above).
- In 2018, the Government took the initiative to adopt a Royal Decree fixing the
conditions for positive action as recognised in the three anti-discrimination laws of
10 May 2007. This ancillary Royal Decree was finally adopted on 11 February 2019.447
It is only applicable to positive action relating to employment in the private sector.
Its main purpose is therefore to provide private employers with a secure legal
framework within which positive action may be undertaken. A positive action plan
may be adopted either through a collective agreement or through an employer’s
444 Available on the website of Unia www.unia.be/fr/publications-et-statistiques/statistiques/tudes-statistiques-
445 Unia (2018) Diversity Barometer: Education,
446 Belgian Federal Act of 12 May 2019 creating a Federal Institute for the Protection and Promotion of
Fundamental Rights (Loi du 12 mai 2019 portant création d'un Institut fédéral pour la protection et la
promotion des droits humains), OJ (Moniteur belge), 21 June 2019.
447 Royal Decree of 11 February 2019 setting on the conditions of positive actions (Arrêté royal du 11 février
2019 fixant les conditions de l’action positive), OJ (Moniteur belge), 1 March 2019, p. 21169.