Joint Statement on Religious Discrimination in Higher Education
Student unions oppose ban on wearing of religious symbols
On 4th June 2020, with the arrêt 81/2020, the Constitutional Court of Belgium has concluded that the Article 3 of the Decree of the French Community of 31 st March 1994 on the “neutrality of education” does not violate the Belgian Constitution nor the European Convention of Human Rights, which guarantees the freedom of religion. The Court has thus validated the decision of the educational institute Haute École Francisco Ferrer in Brussels to ban students from wearing religious symbols.
The undersigned organisations including the European Students’ Union (ESU), the Federation for French speaking Students (FEF), the Flemish Unions of Students (VVS), the Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organisations (FEMYSO) and the European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS) express strong concern over measures that discriminate against students professing certain religious beliefs. As outlined in ESU’s Anti-Discrimination Statement, educational institutions must ensure that campuses remain discrimination-free zones. Measures such as the ban on wearing of religious symbols that infringe upon the right of students to practice their religion is one of many ways that discrimination and, consequentially inequality manifests.