minority entitled to their language and culture being respected, and entitled to officially and
publicly practice them, potentially with public subsidies…
A the local level however, in numerous towns, especially those close to Brussels or the linguistic
border, French speakers nominate candidates to elections, are elected representatives and in
some cases even gain the majority vote… But this majority is denied and persecuted… Their
Mayors are not recognised or even not officially named, except where they commit to only using
the Dutch language. Also, there were 5 French speaking elected members of the Flemish Brabant
Provincial Council which certainly proves that a large presence of French voters exists in the
Flanders area! The Flemish majority does not however draw any reasonable conclusions
regarding the respect owed to the language and culture of its citizens…
At the regional level, it is worth noting the obvious under-representation of French speakers in
Flanders who only have one representative out of 124 in the Flemish Parliament, despite making
up 5% of the population. Conversely, the Flemish minority in Brussels is significantly
over-represented in the Brussels Parliament… thanks to a legally guaranteed presence (17 seats
out of 89) regardless of the number of votes cast, which amounts to almost 20% of seats despite
the fact that in the Brussels Region the number of Flemish inhabitants is less than 10%!
Therefore, the first form of violence occurring in Belgium (in Flanders) against French speakers, is
an institutional form of violence exercised by the Flemish political majority diktat over the
Belgian parliament and also inevitably, the Flemish Parliament. This violence is shown through
inaction, denial, and the refusal to officially recognise the existence and the rights of the French
speaking minority in Flanders. This minority does exist however: there are at least 300,000 French
speaking Belgian citizens in Flanders…
This violence mainly ensues from an unjust law from 1962 that established Belgian regions as
officially unilingual, except some minor exceptions for certain municipalities near the linguistic
border or the Brussels-Capital region, called municipalities “with facilities”, but where
continuous Flemish political pressure aims at reducing these facilities and ultimately removing
them. Flemish political parties refuse to open their eyes and hearts to UN contemporary rules
regarding the protection of national minorities. However, “linguistic territoriality” as in the 1962
law, imposed by Flemish parties without sufficient exceptions, are in direct breach of the
democratic principles of the UN, especially the necessary respect for linguistic minority rights.
This law exerts unacceptable pressure on French speakers in Flanders and serious discrimination
between citizens of the same State.

Georges CLERFAYT, ADHUM Representative, Doctor of Law, Degrees in Political Science (International
Relations) and Economic Sciences. Former Lecturer at Namur University. Honorary Federal MP (1971-2003)
Former member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (1996-2003) Honorary city councillor
of Rhode Saint Genèse.

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