Belgium (CCPR 06-12-2019)
The Human Rights Committee considered the sixth periodic report of Belgium (CCPR/C/BEL/6) at its 3651st and 3652nd meetings (see CCPR/C/SR.3651 and 3652), held on 15 and 16 October 2019. At its 3676th and 3677th meetings, held on 1 November 2019, it adopted the present concluding observations.
B. Positive aspects
- The Committee welcomes the State party’s adoption of the following legislative and policy measures:
(a) Act No. 2011003317 of 28 July 2011, amending the Act of 21 March 1991 reforming certain public enterprises, the Companies Code and the Act of 19 April 2002 streamlining the operation and management of the National Lottery so as to ensure the presence of women on the boards of directors of autonomous public enterprises, listed companies and the National Lottery;
(b) Act No. 2012204357 of 22 April 2012, aimed at reducing the wage gap between men and women;
(c) Act No. 2013009352 of 29 April 2013, aimed at amending article 433 quinquies of the Criminal Code, with a view to clarifying and expanding the definition of human trafficking;
(d) Act No. 2013009351 of 24 June 2013, on suppression of exploitation of begging and prostitution, human trafficking and smuggling of human beings, taking into account the number of victims;
(e) Act No. 2014000586 of 22 May 2014, on combating sexism in the public domain, which amended the Act of 10 May 2007 on combating discrimination between women and men, so as to criminalize acts of discrimination;
(f) Act No. 2014009398 of 12 May 2014, amending Title XIII, Chapter VI of Programme Law (I) of 24 December 2002, in respect of the guardianship of foreign unaccompanied minors;
(g) Act No. 2016009219 of 31 May 2016, supplementing the implementation of European obligations in respect of the sexual exploitation of children, child pornography, human trafficking and support provided in the event of unauthorized entry, transit and residence;
(h) Act No. 2016009356 of 6 July 2016, amending the Judicial Code in respect of legal aid;
(i) Act No. 2017012964 of 25 June 2017, reforming the way in which transgender persons are treated in respect of the notation, in the documentation of the civil registry, that their gender assignment has changed, and the effects thereof, while taking note of Constitutional Court ruling No. 99/2019 of 19 June 2019, which found Act No. 2017012964 of 25 June 2017 partially unconstitutional;
(j) The adoption, on 10 June 2013, of the Interfederal Action Plan to Combat Homophobic and Transphobic Violence 2013–2014;
(k) The adoption, in December 2015, of the national action plan to combating all forms of gender-based violence 2015–2019;
(l) The adoption, on 15 July 2015, of the third national action plan to combat human trafficking 2015–2019;
(m) The adoption, in May 2018, of the interfederal action plan to combat discrimination and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons 2018–2019.
C. Principal matters of concern and recommendations
Sexual orientation, gender identity and intersexuality
- The Committee notes with concern that children born with intersex traits are sometimes subjected to invasive and irreversible medical procedures aimed at assigning them with a sex, that such actions are often based on a stereotyped vision of gender roles and that they are carried out before the persons in question are of an age to give their free and informed consent (arts. 3, 7, 9, 17, 24 and 26).
- The State party should take the necessary measures to end the performance of irreversible medical acts, especially surgical operations, on intersex children who are not yet capable of giving their free and informed consent, except in cases where such interventions are absolutely necessary for medical reasons.