Belgium’s police-related racial violence concerns UN body

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BRUSSELS (AP) — A U.N. rights committee expressed concerns Monday about police-related racial violence in Belgium and asked the country to allow thorough investigations of the alleged incidents.

The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), which is made of 18 independent experts, also called for more ethnic diversity in the country’s police force.

A top Belgian police official stepped aside last year after the emergence of a 2018 video showing violent treatment of a Slovak citizen by police officers at a Belgian airport. The man, who was in distress, later died. More recently, Belgian prosecutors have launched a probe following the death of a 23-year-old Black man who was detained by police.

The committee said in statement that experts were worried by “reports of an increase of police violence during the COVID-19 pandemic and recent anti-racism demonstrations, persistent racial profiling and hate speech.”

The panel recommended that Belgian authorities “legislate an explicit prohibition of racial profiling and establish an independent system for dealing with complaints related to racial profiling.”

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