Discrimination lawsuits rule the pandemic era

From the Covid Safe Ticket to the vaccination campaign, the pandemic largely drove a rise in the number of discrimination cases opened in Belgium last year.

A total of 10,610 reports for suspected offences of discrimination, hate messages and hate crimes were received by Belgium’s independent public institution that fights discrimination, Unia, in 2021, an increase of 12% compared to the previous year. The organisation opened 2,379 individual files regarding complaints (+9%).

“Behind these files are mainly 2,379 people who have felt discriminated against and for whom Unia reached out to find solutions,” said director Els Keytsman at the publication of the annual report 2021.

Of all the received reports, 35% were related to the measures taken in connection with the Covid-19 crisis, 16% more than in 2020. The Covid Safe Ticket (CST) and the vaccination campaign led to discrimination in access to basic rights such as getting health care and assistance.

The largest share of pandemic-related complaints was against the media (1,054), followed by goods and services (712) and society as a whole (508).

“This increase is largely explained by the resumption of activities in a number of sectors that were shut down in 2020 due to the health crisis,” a Unia statement read.

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