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Belgian Government Prosecuting Homeschool Family for Political Dissent

LifeSiteNews.com

By Hilary White
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Paul BelienBRUSSELS, June 15, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Paul Belien predicted in May of this yearÂthat he would be under a legal assault from the extreme left Belgian ruling party. Now Belien is indeedÂbeing prosecuted by the Belgian government, for the “crime” of homeschooling his children.
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  His wife, Alexandra Colen writing in Brussels Journal said her husband was questioned by Brussels police on Wednesday. He was told that his offence was homeschooling his five children, four of whom are now in university.
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  Colen said her husband was told that, as a homeschooler, Belien has “not adequately educated his children,” which constitutes the criminal offence of “neglect of parental duties.” The order to arrest Paul Belien came from the Ministry of Education, who instructed police to take down his statement for evidence.
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  Belien is a lawyer and has written for a number of influential journals before founding Brussels Journal. Alexandra Colen, a Member of Parliament who holds advanced degrees in philosophy and linguistics, gave up an academic career to be a full time mother and homeschooler.
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  The family is among a rapidly growing number of Belgian families who have removed their children from the government-run schools, where drugs and violence are rampant and, Colen says, children are indoctrinated in socialism.
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  Homeschooling parents in Belgium are closely monitored by government officials and are required to sign a declaration in which they agree to school their children “respecting the respect for the fundamental human rights and the cultural values of the child itself and of others.”
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Alexandra ColenIn the carefully manipulated language that rules the European establishment, “fundamental human rights” could mean anything at allÂand the government document declines to define it saying it is up to the inspecting officials to decide. The Belien family has refused to sign the declaration.
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  Under the Belgian rules, two negative reports from the inspectors result in the children being forced into an official government recognized school. The criteria used by these inspectors are not revealed to parents.
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  Belgium is an enthusiastic signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which stipulates the rights of children include the right to refuse religious education or to be raised according to their parents’ values. Under Article 13, parents could be subject to prosecution for any attempt to prevent their children from interacting with material they deem unacceptable.
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  US homeschooling advocates have warned that this Convention is being interpreted to mean that parents have no rights to guide the education and upbringing of their children.
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  Michael Farris, the chairman of the American Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), pointed out that in 1995 “the United Kingdom was deemed out of compliance” with the Convention “because it allowed parents to remove their children from public school sex-education classes without consulting the child.”
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  The Belien family’s problems stem from the effectiveness of their opposition to the socialist and statist ambitions of the Belgian establishment. Colen is a Member of Parliament for the Flemish secessionist party, Vlaams Belang, and as such, represents an increasingly persecuted Christian and socially conservative viewpoint.
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  A month ago, LifeSiteNews.com reported that the Brussels Journal was being threatened by the leftist Belgian government for voicing opinions on immigration, homosexuality and abortion that do not toe the politically correct line.
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  In May Belien, editor of Brussels Journal wrote, “Belgian journalists, lawyers and politicians (including Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt), say that I am responsible for creating the atmosphere of hatred” that led to a shooting by a young mentally unstable man. A press release was issued by a leftist law firm demanding that Belien be prosecuted.
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  Brussels Journal’s dared to point out that the wave of violent crime in Belgium and the rest of Europe has mostly been the result of an influx of young Muslim immigrants from North African who have been welcomed in huge numbers into Europe and who many Christian and conservative writers have pointed out hold in contempt traditional European Christian cultural values.
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  Read coverage in Brussels Journal:
http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/1114
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  Read previous LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
  Conservative Brussels Journal Threatened by Socialist Belgian Government
https://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2006/may/06051704.html

 



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