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Inclusion Belgium is an Inclusion Europe member from Belgium.

Their director met the Commissioner for Human Rights at
the Council of Europe.

The Commissioner makes sure that European countries respect
human rights.

He visited Belgium last month and discussed with the director of
Inclusion Belgium about the right of persons with disabilities.

The director of Inclusion Belgium said that judges often make
decisions for people with disabilities instead of letting them making
decisions on their own.

She also explained that a lot of efforts need to be made for inclusive
education.

The Commissioner is going to write about what he has seen in Belgium
and what needs to be improved.
 

 

Thérèse Kempeneers-Foulon, Director of Inclusion Belgium and Vice-President of the Belgian Disability Forum, has met Nils Muiznieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights during his country visit to Belgium last month.

Inclusion Belgium director started the discussion by focusing on the main areas of life in which persons with disabilities do not enjoy human rights on an equal basis as all Belgian citizens, such as education. She also mentioned the issues related to the implementation of the new law on legal capacity adopted in 2014. Indeed, Belgian judges are lacking of adequate training to enforce this law in line with the spirit of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). By making the decision they believe is the most appropriate, judges tend to substitute themselves for people with disabilities instead of providing them with the necessary support to make the decision on their own.

Mrs. Kempeneers-Foulon and Mr. Muiznieks also discussed the need for progress towards inclusive education. Belgium remains the country in Western Europe where persons with disabilities are the most often oriented towards a solution of institutionalisation. The number of children with disabilities in specialised education is still exceptionally high.

The Commissioner was informed about differences between the three communities in Belgium and the progresses made in each of them. The German-speaking community is in the process of dismantling its system of specialised education, a recent decree has initiated a shift towards more inclusive education in Flanders and pilot-projects are being carried out in several schools of the French-speaking community to promote integration of children with disabilities in mainstream schools.

“A nation-wide commitment to inclusive education is needed in Belgium,” Muižnieks concluded. "Children with disabilities must be able to attend mainstream education on an equal footing with other pupils, as required by the UNCRPD”.

The Commissioner is going to release his observations in a few weeks, which will certainly serve as a basis for Inclusion Belgium’s advocacy work.