Concerns at UN about racism and violence in Belgian police

The United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) is concerned about racism and violence among the Belgian police and recommends that the country carry out a thorough investigation into incidents.

The same committee stated in 2015 that the Dutch government should ensure that the tradition of Zwarte Piet would change. In Belgium, the CERD is concerned about โ€œreports of an increase in police brutality during the Covid-19 pandemic and recent anti-racism monstrations, persistent ethnic profiling and hate speechโ€.

The 18 human rights experts from the Committee recommend that the Belgian authorities legislate for an โ€œexplicit ban on ethnic profilingโ€ and to set up an independent system to deal with complaints related to ethnic profiling.

The CERD also calls for greater ethnic diversity within the police force. And it advises โ€œthorough and impartialโ€ investigations into all possible racist incidents that might have been caused by the police or involving the police.


In January, 23-year-old Ibrahima Barrie died after being arrested by the Brussels police. The prosecution is investigating the case. In 2019, 19-year-old Adil died, who was on his scooter when he was hit by the police. A few months later, 17-year-old Mehdi was also killed by a police car.

Last year, video footage showed how the police were harshly approving a Slovak arrest at Charleroi airport. The man fell into a coma and died a few days later. A top man of the Belgian aviation police temporarily resigned.

The CERD writes reports on all the countries that have signed the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. So now it was Belgiums turn.