TITLE II. On Belgians and their rights
The status as a Belgian citizen is acquired, kept and lost according to rules established by civil law.
The Constitution and the other laws concerning political rights, establish, apart from this status, the necessary conditions for the exercising of these rights.
In a departure from the second paragraph, the law can, in accordance with Belgium’s international and supranational obligations, establish a right to vote for citizens of the European Union who are not Belgian citizens.
The right to vote referred to in the preceding paragraph can be extended by a law to Belgian residents who are not citizens of a Member State of the European Union, under the conditions and in accordance with the terms specified in such a law.
The law referred to in the fourth paragraph cannot be passed before 1 January 2001.
Naturalisation is granted by the federal legislative power.
No class distinctions exist in the State.
Belgians are equal before the law; they alone are eligible for civil and military service, but for the exceptions that can be created by a law for particular cases.
Equality between women and men is guaranteed.
Enjoyment of the rights and freedoms recognised for Belgians must be provided without discrimination. To this end, laws and federate laws guarantee among others the rights and freedoms of ideological and philosophical minorities.
The law, federate law or rule referred to in Article 134 guarantees that women and men may equally exercise their rights and freedoms, and in particular promotes their equal access to elective and public mandates.
The Council of Ministers and the Governments of the Communities and the Regions include both women and men.
The law, federate law or rule referred to in Article 134 provides for women and men to sit on the permanent deputations of the provincial councils, the colleges of the burgomasters and aldermen, the councils and permanent committees of the public centres for social welfare and on the executives of any other inter-provincial, supra-municipal, inter-municipal or intra-municipal territorial body.
The preceding paragraph does not apply when the law, federate law or rule referred to in Article 134 provides for the direct election of the members of the permanent deputations of the provincial councils, of aldermen, of the members of the councils and permanent committees of the social welfare centres or of the members of the executives of any other inter-provincial, supra-municipal, inter-municipal or intra-municipal territorial body.
The freedom of the individual is guaranteed.
No one can be prosecuted except in the cases provided for by the law, and in the form prescribed by the law.
Except in the case of a flagrant offence, no one can be arrested except on the strength of a reasoned judge’s order, which must be served at the time of arrest or at the latest within twenty-four hours.
No one can be separated, against his will, from the judge that the law has assigned to him.
No punishment can be introduced or administered except by virtue of the law.
Capital punishment is abolished.
One’s home is inviolable; no house search may take place except in the cases provided for by the law and in the form prescribed by the law.
No one can be deprived of his property except in the case of expropriation for a public purpose, in the cases and manner established by the law and in return for fair compensation paid beforehand.
Assets may not be confiscated as a means of punishment.
Civil death is abolished; it cannot be re-introduced.
Freedom of worship, its public practice and freedom to demonstrate one’s opinions on all matters are guaranteed, but offences committed when this freedom is used may be punished.
No one can be obliged to contribute in any way whatsoever to the acts and ceremonies of a religion or to observe its days of rest.
The State does not have the right to intervene either in the appointment or in the installation of ministers of any religion whatsoever or to forbid these ministers from corresponding with their superiors, from publishing the acts of these superiors, but, in this latter case, normal responsibilities as regards the press and publishing apply.
A civil wedding should always precede the blessing of the marriage, apart from the exceptions to be established by the law if needed.
Everyone has the right to the respect of his private and family life, except in the cases and conditions determined by the law.
The laws, federate laws and rules referred to in Article 134 guarantee the protection of this right.
Each child is entitled to have his or her moral, physical, mental and sexual integrity respected.
Each child has the right to express his or her views in all matters affecting him or her, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with his or her age and maturity.
Each child has the right to benefit from measures and facilities which promote his or her development.
In all decisions concerning children, the interest of the child is a primary consideration.
The law, federate law or rule referred to in Article 134 ensures these rights of the child.
Everyone has the right to lead a life in keeping with human dignity.
To this end, the laws, federate laws and rules referred to in Article 134 guarantee economic, social and cultural rights, taking into account corresponding obligations, and determine the conditions for exercising them.
These rights include among others:
- the right to employment and to the free choice of an occupation within the context of a general employment policy, aimed among others at ensuring a level of employment that is as stable and high as possible, the right to fair terms of employment and to fair remuneration, as well as the right to information, consultation and collective negotiation;
- the right to social security, to health care and to social, medical and legal aid;
- the right to decent accommodation;
- the right to the protection of a healthy environment;
- the right to cultural and social fulfilment;
- the right to family allowances.
- Education is free; any preventive measure is forbidden; the punishment of offences is regulated only by the law or federate law.The community offers free choice to parents.
The community organises non-denominational education. This implies in particular the respect of the philosophical, ideological or religious beliefs of parents and pupils.
Schools run by the public authorities offer, until the end of compulsory education, the choice between the teaching of one of the recognised religions and non-denominational ethics teaching.
- If a community, in its capacity as an organising authority, wishes to delegate powers to one or several autonomous bodies, it can only do so by federate law adopted by a two-thirds majority of the votes cast.
- Everyone has the right to education with the respect of fundamental rights and freedoms. Access to education is free until the end of compulsory education.All pupils of school age have the right to moral or religious education at the community’s expense.
- All pupils or students, parents, teaching staff or institutions are equal before the law or federate law. The law and federate law take into account objective differences, in particular the characteristics of each organising authority that warrant appropriate treatment.
- The organisation, the recognition and the subsidising of education by the community are regulated by the law or federate law.
The press is free; censorship can never be introduced; no security can be demanded from authors, publishers or printers.
When the author is known and resident in Belgium, neither the publisher, the printer nor the distributor can be prosecuted.
Belgians have the right to gather peaceably and without arms, in accordance with the laws that can regulate the exercise of this right, without submitting it to prior authorisation.
This provision does not apply to open air meetings, which are entirely subject to police regulations.
Belgians have the right to enter into association or partnership; this right cannot be subject to any preventative measure.
Everyone has the right to address petitions signed by one or more persons to the public authorities.
Constituted bodies are alone entitled to address petitions under a collective name.
The confidentiality of letters is inviolable.
The law determines which officials may violate the confidentiality of letters entrusted to the postal service.
The use of languages spoken in Belgium is optional; only the law can rule on this matter, and only for acts of the public authorities and for judicial affairs.
No authorisation is necessary prior to taking legal action against civil servants for offences resulting from their administration, except with regard to what has been ruled on concerning ministers and members of the Community and Regional Governments.
Everyone has the right to consult any administrative document and to obtain a copy, except in the cases and conditions stipulated by the laws, federate laws or rules referred to in Article 134.