Practice Relating to Rule 88. Non-Discrimination
Belgium’s Law of War Manual (1983) states, with reference to common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, that in internal armed conflicts “persons who do not take a direct part in hostilities, including members of the armed forces who have laid down their arms and persons placed hors de combat
must be treated … without any adverse distinction”.
In 2001, in its thirteenth periodic report to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Belgium stated:
Following reports of acts, particularly acts of a racist nature, which were allegedly committed by soldiers from a Belgian battalion of the international peacekeeping force in Somalia and for which sentences were handed down, the Minister of Defence took strong action, by agreement with the army chief of staff, to rid the army of racism and, in particular, make multiculturalism a positive feature of the army’s corporate culture. The general watchword adopted in 1999 thus relates to the topic of racism and xenophobia. A code of conduct was also drawn up and includes the question of racism and xenophobia.
In 2001, in its initial report to the Committee against Torture, Belgium stated:
Paragraph 7 of the Code of Conduct of the Department of Defence (May 1999) also refers to human rights and international humanitarian law:
“7. … I undertake to treat every individual with respect on a basis of equality. I will not tolerate any form of discrimination. I will assist any individual in danger.”