UN slates Flemish housing code
Under the code only people who speak Dutch or are willing to learn it qualify for social housing.
The United Nations is raising questions about the new Flemish housing code. Under the code only people who speak Dutch or are willing to learn it qualify for social housing.
The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is worried that the code could indirectly lead to discrimination.
Since 2007 people wanting to rent social housing in Flanders have to be able to speak Dutch or be prepared to learn the language of the community around them.
The measure is intended to encourage the integration of foreigners.
From the start many Francophones experienced the measure as a form of harassment and claimed that it was intended to discourage them from going to live in the Flemish area around Brussels.
They have now received support from an unexpected quarter.
Now the United Nations is getting in on the act and has voiced concern about the Flemish housing code.
It is the UN's Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination that has suggested that the code discriminates against people who do not speak Dutch.
The committee also raises questions about a number of other developments in Flanders.
The UN wants Belgium to ratify the Treaty on the Protection of Minorities.
So far Flemish politicians have blocked this ratification.
The UN is also concerned about how asylum seekers are treated and bans on the wearing of the headscarf for civil servants who are in direct contact with the general public.