Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 January 2018, 09:04 GMT

Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders Annual Report 2006 - Belgium

Publisher International Federation for Human Rights
Publication Date 14 March 2007
Cite as International Federation for Human Rights, Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders Annual Report 2006 - Belgium, 14 March 2007, available at: [accessed 23 January 2018]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Violent dispersal of a peaceful gathering13

On July 4, 2006, a group of demonstrators including parliamentarians, journalists, trade unionists and members of associations defending illegal immigrant's rights were violently jostled by police forces during a sit-in on front of a police station in Brussels. Among the demonstrators, Mr. Axel Bernard, a lawyer for the Union for the Defence of Illegal Immigrants (Union de défense des sans-papiers – UDEP), and Mr. Manuel Lambert, legal counsel of the Belgian Human Rights League (Ligue des droits de l'Homme belge – LDHB), were hit by the police while several other demonstrators were dragged along the ground.

Demonstrators were protesting against the forcible removal by the police of illegal immigrants who had taken refuge in the Church of Anderlecht, and who were subsequently transferred to detention centres, despite the provisional agreement reached between the Church and immigrants' rights organisations which provided that they could stay in the church until July 21, 2006.

Four persons, including Mr. Bernard and a member of the Coordination and Initiatives For and With Foreign Refugees (Coordination et initiatives pour et avec les réfugiés étrangers – CIRE), were subsequently detained in custody. A complaint was also lodged against Mr. Bernard for "assault and battery against a police officer". Although the Brussels Public Prosecutor's office immediately closed the case and ordered Mr. Bernard's release, he was held in detention for several hours.

[Refworld note: This report as posted on the FIDH website ( was in pdf format with country chapters run together by region. Footnote numbers have been retained here, so do not necessarily begin at 1.]

13. See Closed Letter to the Belgian authorities, July 11, 2006.

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