Belgians and Their Rights

Title II Belgians and Their Rights

Article 8: Citizenship

1. The title of Belgian is acquired, preserved, and lost according to rules determined by civil law.

2. The Constitution and the other laws relative to political rights, determine which are, apart from this title, the necessary conditions for the exercise of these rights.

Article 9: Naturalization

Naturalization is accorded by the federal legislative power.

Article 10: Equality

1. There are no class distinctions in the State.
2. Belgians are equal before the law; they are the only ones eligible for civil and military service, but for the exceptions that could be made by law for special cases.

Article 11: Non-Discrimination, Minorities

Enjoyment of the rights and freedoms recognized for Belgians should be ensured without discrimination. To this end, laws and decrees guarantee notably the rights and freedoms of ideological and philosophical minorities.

Article 12: Personal Liberty

1. Individual freedom is guaranteed.

2. No one can be prosecuted except in the cases provided for by law, and in the form prescribed by law.

3. Except in the case of flagrante delicto, no one can be arrested except by a justifiable judge's order, that must be served at the moment of arrest, or at the latest within twenty-four hours.

Article 13: Lawful Judge

No one can be separated, unwillingly, from the judge that the law has assigned to him.

Article 14: Legal Punishment

No punishment can be made or given except in pursuance of the law.

Article 15: Home

The domicile is inviolable; no visit to the individual's residence can take place except in the cases provided for by law and in the form prescribed by law.

Article 16: Property

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 law, and in return for a fair compensation paid beforehand.

Article 17: No Confiscation

Punishment by confiscation of assets cannot be made.

Article 18: Capital Punishment

The death penalty is abolished; it cannot be brought back into force.

Article 19: Freedom of Expression

Freedom of worship, public practice of the latter, as well as freedom to demonstrate one's opinions on all matters, are guaranteed, except for the repression of offenses committed when using this freedom.

Article 20: No Forced Religion

No one can be obliged to contribute in any way whatsoever to the acts and ceremonies of a religion, nor to observe the days of rest.

Article 21: Church Competencies, Civil Wedding

1. The State does not have the right to intervene either in the nomination or in the installation of ministers of any religion whatsoever, nor to forbid these ministers from corresponding with their superiors, from publishing their acts, except, in the latter case, taking into consideration normal responsibilities in matters of press and publication.

2. A civil wedding should always precede nuptial benediction except in cases established by law, should this be necessary.

Article 22: Privacy

1. Everyone has the right to the respect of his private and family life, except in the cases and conditions determined by law.

2. The laws, decrees, and rulings alluded to in Article 134 guarantee the protection of this right.

Article 23: Dignity

1. Everyone has the right to lead a life in conformity with human dignity.

2. To this end, the laws, decrees, and rulings alluded to in Article 134 guarantee, taking into account corresponding obligations, economic, social, and cultural rights, and determine the conditions for exercising them.

3. These rights include notably:
  1. the right to employment and to the free choice of a professional activity in the framework 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;
  2. the right to social security, to health care and to social, medical, and legal aid;
  3. the right to have decent accommodation;
  4. the right to enjoy the protection of a healthy environment:
  5. the right to enjoy cultural and social fulfillment.

Article 24: Education
  1. Education is free; any preventative measure is forbidden; the repression of offenses is only governed law or decree.
  2. The Community offers free choice to parents.
  3. The Community organizes neutral education. Neutrality implies notably the respect of the philosophical, ideological, or religious conceptions of parents and pupils.
  4. The schools organized by the public authorities offer, until the end of mandatory schooling, the choice between the teaching of one of the recognized religions and non-denominational moral teaching.
2. If a Community, in its capacity as an organizing authority, wishes to delegate competency to one or several autonomous bodies, it can only do so by decree adopted by a two-third majority vote.

  1. Everyone has the right to education with the respect of fundamental rights and freedoms. Access to education is free until the end of mandatory schooling.
  2. All pupils of school age have the right to moral or religious education at the Community's expense.
4. All pupils or students, parents, teaching staff, or institutions are equal before the law or decree. The law and decree take into account objective differences, notably the characteristics of each organizing authority, that justify appropriate treatment.

5. The organization, the recognition and the subsidizing of education by the Community are regulated by law or decree.

Article 25: Press

1. The press is free; censorship can never be established; security from authors, publishers, or printers cannot be demanded.

2. When the author is known and resident in Belgium, neither the publisher, nor the printer, nor the distributor can be prosecuted.

Article 26: Assembly

1. Belgians have the right to gather peaceably and without arms, in conformity with the laws that regulate the exercise of this right, without submitting it to prior authorization.

2. This provision does not apply to open air meetings, which are entirely subject to police regulations.

Article 27: Association

Belgians have the right to enter into association or partnership; this right cannot be liable to any preventative measures.

Article 28: Petition

1. Everyone has the right to address petitions signed by one or more persons to the public authorities.

2. Constituted bodies are alone able to address petitions in a collective name.

Article 29: Secrecy of Letters

1. The confidentiality of letters is inviolable.

2. The law determines which nominated representatives can violate the confidentiality of letters entrusted to the postal service.

Article 30: Choice of Language

The use of languages current in Belgium is optional; only the law can rule on this matter, and only for acts of the public authorities and for legal matters.

Article 31: Liability of Civil Servants

No prior authorization is necessary to take legal action against civil servants because of their public office, except with regard to what has been ruled on concerning ministers and members of the Community and Regional governments.

Article 32: Information

Everyone has the right to consult any administrative document and to have a copy made, except in the cases and conditions stipulated by the laws, decrees, or rulings referred to in Article 134.