Speech from ADHUM at the UN Forum on Minority Issues in Geneva (25-26 November 2014)
I am here today representing ADHUM, short for the Association for the Promotion of Human and
Minority Rights, created in Brussels in the summer of 2013, in light of the need within Belgium to
actively defend human rights and particularly minority rights. Unfortunately, aside from German
speakers and Flemish speakers from Brussels (and good for them!) minorities are not respected
today in our State of Belgium.
Bearing in mind the theme of this Forum, which is to identify violence against minorities, I should
say that there aren’t killings or atrocities in Belgium, thank goodness. However, and even if this
already long ago (1970), we cannot forget the death of the French militant Jacques Georgin after
he was severely beaten by Flemish extremists during an election campaign.
Apart from this, cases of less extreme violence admittedly happen in the Flanders region. They
often consist of disruptive protests (between 50 and 3000 people) using placards, firecrackers,
throwing eggs or paint, hostile outbursts, tagging official buildings (such as communal houses,
cultural centres of French schools), sometimes tagging the homes of French speaking political
figures and sometimes harassing people such as Mayors and municipal councillors, as well as
entering and encroaching on their private homes and gardens for a period of time.
Admittedly, most of the time the Police in Flanders, made up exclusively of Flemish policemen,
do take action when they are called out, but they always do so languidly, to control the situation,
separate Flemish and French-speakers, prevent fights, but without ever obstructing
demonstrations and almost never proceeding to arrests. What’s more, extremist Flemish groups
are almost never banned from protesting. It isn’t always the case, far from it, when French
speakers themselves are requesting to hold demonstrations!
Therefore, Flemish demonstrations against French speakers, which are tolerated and controlled,
still cause injuries or damage to property. This spreads fear among French speaking minorities in
Flanders and is believed to indeed be the Flemish objective, according to many French speakers
who daren’t go out to attend meetings organised for them (these are sometimes simple cultural
or festive gatherings). From the Flemish authorities, this is a skillful and complicit technique to
deter French speakers from gathering and expressing their culture or politics and in this way,
aiming to silence their voice. The authorities therefore count on French speakers becoming
discouraged and subservient (accepting becoming assimilated).
In short, in a de facto complicity with radical extremist Flemish groups (such as the T.A.K, the
Voorpost or the V.V.B), Flemish authorities and their police are thus developing a ‘soft’
oppression against French speaking minorities, instead of fulfilling their democratic duty to
protect and respect the rights of French speaking minorities living in Flanders, especially, but not
exclusively on the outskirts of Brussels.
In order to understand, one should know that the prevalent official and political dogma in
Flanders, against historical and rational evidence, is that there is not and cannot be a French
speaking minority (these people should accept to be assimilated). Therefore, there is no
discussion among the Flemish regarding the recognition of the existence of a French speaking