Expatica news

Racism at work in jobs market, education

22 June 2005

BRUSSELS — The Belgian equal opportunities board CGKR said racism was still very common last year, revealing that it investigated 924 new reports of discrimination.

The CGKR also said when presenting its annual report on Wednesday that 1,681 requests for information were lodged in 2004, newspaper ‘De Standaard’ reported.

“That illustrates how racist comments and racist-based discrimination is still an everyday occurrence,” CGKR director Jozef de Witte said.

“[However] I am reasonably positive about the past year because the debate around diversity has become more pronounced.”

De Witte said debate is now being waged about issues such as a company which refuses to employ immigrants or a landlord who refuses tenancy to a gay couple.

He also said people now feel the need to take a stance in the debate, a positive develop in comparison to the situation 20 years ago.

“But there is still a long way to go,” De Witte said, adding that the government must address the issue of racism at work and in education.

The CGKR said greater guidance, reform of anti-discrimination laws and a general change of attitude is required to combat racism.

Of the 924 investigations, 17 percent involved discrimination in the labour market, ranging from recruitment to workplace bullying or from sanctions to sackings, the CGKR report said.

Besides the labour market, complaints were also lodged about community problems, such as neighbourhood disputes and street aggression. These accounted for 14 percent of racist complaints.

But not all complaints are proven. Just 20 percent of complaints actually involve ‘real racism’ such as incitement to racism, discrimination, insults or violence. The CGKR takes legal action in one case out of 20.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news