Belgium: Concern about exploitation of children in demonstrations

Belgium: Concern about exploitation of children in demonstrations

Yesterday I reported about the concern of Norwegian politicians regarding the use of children in anti-Israel demonstrations in Oslo.  Today the European Strategic Intelligence and Security Center (ESISC) questions the use of children in such demonstrations in Belgium.  (h/t Philosémitisme)

The following is a press release from the ESISC:

The ESISC questions the General Delegate for Children's Rights and the presidents of the democratic Belgian parties on the exploitation of children in solidarity demonstrations with Gaza.
Claude Moniquet and Genovefa Etienne, president and vice-president of the ESISC, write on Monday, Jan. 12, 2009 to Mr. Bernard De Vos, General Delegate for Children's Rights in the French Community in Belgium; Mr. Elio Di Rupo, president of the Socialist Party; Ms. Joëlle Milquet, president of the Humanist Democratic Centre; Mr Didier Reynders, president of the Reformist Movement and Isabelle Durant and Jean-Michel Javaux, presidents of EcOLO (Green Party), to ask them to take a stand on the exploitation of children in protests of solidarity with Gaza.

On Jan. 11, 2009, indeed, an important demonstration of solidarity with the Palestinian people was held in Brussels.  To this day it is one of the largest demonstrations of its type held in Europe in recent weeks.

It's also the one that gave rise to the most shocking exploitation of children:

- From the start of the demonstration, dozens of children were groups at the head of the demonstration, surrounded by adults and forced to repeat slogans that some of them clearly did not understand.

- Certain children carried banners or placards containing explicit calls to hatred, while others waved flags of terrorist organizations such as the Hezbollah.

- The supervisors of the demonstration  allowed a group of children to set fire to an Israeli flag and then trampled it to the cries of "Allahu Akhbar".
- At the end of the demonstration, the children were forced to lie on the ground to perform a macabre "die in" meant to symbolize the children victims of Gaza.

The ESISC questions the compatibility of this manipulation of children with articles 19 and 29 (paragraphs B and C) of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child and more generally, with the values of a democracy such as Belgium.

See also: Oslo: 'Children used as shields'

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