Expatica news

Ban the Belang say WWII veterans

15 February 2005

BRUSSELS – Former World War Two prisoners and resistance fighters have called on the Belgian government to ban the extreme-right party Vlaams Belang.

Veterans’ organisation Groupe Memoire argues Belang is promoting the same ideas of the Nazis, against which they fought to free Belgium and the rest of the world, La Libre Belgique reported on Tuesday.

It was Dr Andre Wynen, who was a member of the Belgian resistance and a prisoner of war, who asked Groupe Memoire to make a stand against Belang. Groupe Memoire, which includes veterans from Flanders as well as the rest of Belgium, voted unanimously to lobby the government on the ban.

“Sixty years ago, the Allies demanded the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany,” he said.

“Here, we keep evading the issue and the neo-fascists keep growing,” he added.

The group has contacted Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt and his four Vice-Prime Ministers, but so far only Laurette Onkelinx has met a delegation from Groupe Memoire to hear their proposition.

Dr Wynen, Arthur Haulot and Paul Sobol told Onkelinx they realised a simple ban on a political party would be unacceptable.

They argued that the conditions of eligibility for a party should be reviewed.

In order for a party to stand for elections, it should be obliged to publicly state that its policies conform to the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and be prepared to defend itself in a court against any charge that its policies breach that international law.

If a court condemns a party for breaching human rights, it should be automatically banned from presenting electoral lists, argued the veterans.

Onkelinx did not say whether she was prepared to back the veterans’ idea, however, she insisted the government was studying all means of preventing the growth of the extreme right wing.

The Vlaams Belang was created last year after its predecessor, the Vlaams Blok, was ruled to be legally racist by the Belgian courts.

[Copyright Expatica 2005]

Subject: Belgian news