Tech & Rights

'Control and Punish': Giving Voice to Those Targeted By Police in Belgium

In Belgium, where the terrorist threat level has been raised following the attacks in Brussels, the Belgian League of Human Rights has decided to investigate ethnic profiling and related police practices.

by David Morelli
The exploratory study published by the League of Human Rights (LDH) confirms that ethnic profiling is illegal, illegitimate and inefficient as far as the work of the police is concerned.

But the added value of this research stems from the fact that it actually gives voice to the persons who were controlled by the police, and that it understands the negative effects of such practices on these people, and by extension, on society as a whole.

Multiplying these negative contacts with a targeted part of the population is all the more counterproductive for the police, as the individuals who are stopped and controlled do not question the performance of police officers' tasks nor the legitimacy of the checks, but rather the conditions of the police intervention.

Make ethnic profiling a priority

According to the NGO, the struggle against the ethnic profiling phenomenon should be a priority for the public authorities in any state under the rule of law. The UN Council of Human Rights has therefore urged Belgium to address this issue.

This study highlights several directions the Belgian state should follow to help meet its international obligations, including building documentation and analysis of the phenomenon, implementing effective recourse mechanisms and strengthening prevention mechanisms.

To download the Study “Control and Punish” (Contrôler et punir), click here (in French).