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FRANET

FRC is the national contractor for FRANET, the multi-disciplinary research network of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). As national contractor, FRC periodically produces state of the art overviews of the human rights situation in Belgium in relation to a variety of topics, thereby helping the FRA monitor the protection of human rights in Belgium. The main topics covered in this context are: access to justice; asylum, migration & borders; gender; hate crime; information society, privacy and data protection; LGBTI; people with disabilities; racism & related intolerances; and rights of the child and Roma.

 

So far, FRC has contributed to the FRA with the following actions:

 

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in the EU – impact on fundamental rights (March 2020 – July 2020)

VUB: Prof. Paul de Hert, Dr. Amy WeatherburnJúlia Zomigani Barboza

External Partners: Dr. Marijke de Pauw 

The impact on fundamental rights of the measures taken by government and public authorities in the context of the outbreak of COVID-19 have raised concerns globally, nevertheless, it is important to ensure that these measures are necessary and proportionate to the evaluated risk and that their impact on certain groups, such as children and older people, are taken into account. The impact on selected key fundamental rights such as non-discrimination and equality, freedom of movement, privacy and data protection will be outlined.

On a monthly basis the FRA produce bulletins that outline the measures taken to protect public health and their impact on fundamental rights in EU Member States. A country report for Belgium is also published. 

Bulletin 1 and Country Report (February – March 2020).

Bulletin 2 and Country Report (March – April 2020).

 

Presumption of Innocence: procedural rights in criminal proceedings: fieldwork (June 2020)

VUB: Prof. Paul de Hert

External partners: Prof. Dr Catherine van de Heyning, Dr. Stijn Lamberigts

This project will report on the application of certain aspects of the right to be presumed innocent in criminal proceedings and the fundamental rights implications for the persons concerned, in compliance with Directive 2016/343/EU on the strengthening of certain aspects of the presumption of innocence and of the right to be present at trial in criminal proceedings. 

 

Fundamental Rights Impact of the EU Terrorism Directive (April 2020)

VUB: Prof. Paul de Hert

External partners: Prof. Dr Catherine van de Heyning

This report will collate information on key fundamental rights challenges at the national level in the field of counter-terrorism with particular focus on the implementation of the Directive 2017/541 on combating terrorism. 

 

Long-term residence permits (April 2020)

VUB: Prof. Paul de Hert, Júlia Zomigani Barboza

External partners: Prof. Dr. Ellen De Smet

The aim of the data collection is to map national long-term residence permits in the 25 EU Member States bound by the EU Long-Term Residence Directive 2003/109/EC particularly exploring the data regarding the existence, lengths of status, withdrawal of status and expulsion, as well as equal treatment with Member State nationals, under national long-term residence permits.

 

Severe labour exploitation and the Employers Sanction Directive (April 2020)

VUB: Prof. Paul de Hert, Dr. Amy Weatherburn 

In light of the lack of information on how Member States implement protective provisions of the Employers Sanctions Directive 2009/52/EC, the aim of this research is to provide an overview of how the protective provisions in the directive have impacted on victims of particularly exploitative working conditions. 

For more information on FRA work on severe labour exploitation

 

Justice for all? Equal access to criminal justice for all victims of crimes against the person (April 2020) 

VUB: Prof. Paul de Hert, Dr. Amy Weatherburn 

External Partners: Prof. Dr. Chloé Brière

The Victims’ Rights Directive ensures access to justice and non-discrimination for all victims of crime. The research will collect data on the differential treatment of various categories of victims of crimes against the person – namely female victims of gender-based violence; children; victims with disabilities; victims of hate crime; victims of terrorism; and ‘other’ victims -  and, consequently, differences between these categories in having access to criminal justice.

 

Data collection on experiences of discrimination on grounds of disability  and on grounds of age in the area of  employment and occupation (Contribution to FRA paper on the application of the Equality Directives (Directives 2000/43/EC and 2000/78/EC)) (February 2020)

VUB: Prof. Paul de Hert

External Partners: Dr. Marijke de Pauw

The purpose of this research is to collect available national data and information on discrimination on grounds of (1) disability and (2) age in the area of employment and occupation in the EU Member States with a view to the forthcoming review of the application of the Racial Equality and Employment Equality Directives (Directives 2000/43/EC and 2000/78/EC)). 

 

Roma and Travellers Survey 2018/2019: Legislation, policy and practical aspects (February 2020) 

VUB: Prof. Paul de Hert, Dr. Serena D’Agostino

Following the completion of the FRA Roma and Travellers Survey 2018/2019, it is necessary to contextualise indicators and to better assess the state of play in five Member States covered by the survey by taking stock of relevant legislation and policy aspects in place at the national level. This data collection will collate reliable, precise and up-to-date information on the main national anti-discrimination legislation and policies on Roma and Travellers and those promoting their social inclusion. Where appropriate, this data collection will enable the identification of any major gaps in legislation or barriers for Roma and Travellers to enjoy their fundamental rights.  

 

Contributing to the FRA Fundamental Rights Report 2019 (January 2020)

VUB: Prof. Paul de Hert, Dr. Amy Weatherburn, Júlia Zomigani Barboza

External partners: Prof. Dr. Ellen De Smet, Prof. Dr. Ilke Adam, Prof. Dr. Chloé Brière, Dr. Jozefien van Caeneghem

The FRA Fundamental Rights Report 2019 aims to provide data and information on important developments in 2019 in the following areas: 

  • Equality and non-discrimination 
  • Racism, xenophobia and related intolerance 
  • Roma integration 
  • Asylum, visas, migration, borders and integration 
  • Information society, data protection 
  • Rights of the child 
  • Access to justice including rights of crime victims  
  • Developments in the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Past annual reports can be found on the FRA website.

 

Analysing the use of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights at national level (January 2020)

VUB: Prof. Paul de Hert

External partner: Dr. Jozefien van Caeneghem

In the context of the FRA Fundamental Rights Report 2019, FRC will provide key information and analysis on the use of the EU Charter in Belgium, identifying the main national judgements based on the Charter as well as legislative developments influenced by it and mentions of it by the Belgian parliament.

Analysing key fundamental rights concerns in the field of asylum and migration - Quarterly Bulletin (January 2019 – ongoing)

VUB: Prof. Paul de Hert, Dr. Amy Weatherburn, Júlia Zomigani Barboza

External partner: Prof. Dr. Ellen De Smet

In view of the increasing numbers of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants entering the EU, the European Commission asked FRA to collect data about the fundamental rights situation of people arriving in Member States and EU candidate countries that have been particularly affected by large migration movements. In this context, FRC provides FRA with quarterly bulletins on the fundamental rights situation of migrants and asylum-seekers in Belgium. All bulletins are available on the FRA website.

 

Reporting on legal aid in return procedures in Belgium (November 2019 &February 2020) 

VUB: Prof. Paul de Hert, Dr. Amy Weatherburn, Júlia Zomigani Barboza

External partner: Prof. Dr. Ellen De Smet

One of the central safeguards included in the Return Directive concerns access to free legal aid. Legal aid in asylum and immigration cases is an essential part of the right to an effective remedy and to a fair trial set out in Article 47 of the EU Charter. FRA has carried out extensive work in the field of returns. Existing FRA materials do not, however, analyse the availability of free legal aid for people in return procedures. This data collection intends to fill this gap by enabling FRA to have an overview of the situation in the 28 EU Member States regarding the availability of free legal aid to persons in return procedures.

 

Updating the FRA Anti-Muslim Hatred Database 2019 (September 2019)

VUB: Prof. Paul de Hert, Dr. Amy Weatherburn

External partner: Dr. Jozefien van Caeneghem

The Anti-Muslim Hatred database provides information on significant international, European and national case law and rulings, UN human rights body decisions, reports, findings by human rights and equality bodies and organisations relating to hate crime, hate speech and discrimination against Muslims, as well as relevant research, reports, studies, data and statistics on these issues. It also provides information on victims' support organisations in the EU Member States. The update will provide available statistics and other data pertaining to anti-Muslim hatred, where possible disaggregated by ethnic and/or religious group, citizenship, gender and age to identify intersectional aspects in Belgium.

The full Anti-Muslim Hatred Database is available on FRA website, with specific aspects on Belgium here.

 

Reporting on fundamental rights issues in the context of border management and return (May – August 2019)

VUB: Prof. Paul de Hert, Dr. Amy Weatherburn, Júlia Zomigani Barboza

External partner: Prof. Dr. Ellen De Smet

Fundamental rights issues in the context of European Union external border management and return policies receive high attention by policy makers and media, particularly against the backdrop of the recent unprecedented migration influx. 

In order to facilitate its follow-up work to past research activities in this context (such as the reports on the treatment of third-country nationals at external EU border - at southern sea borders, at airports and at land borders, on immigration detention of children