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Brussels parliament to discuss discrimination in nightclubs

Nov 28, 2016
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New measures aimed at stopping discrimination at Brussels nightclubs are to be discussed by the region's parliament next year and could come into force in 2019.

More CCTV at club entrances and a text-messaging system for complaints are among the proposals in a resolution put forward by Fatoumata Sidibé from the French-speaking DéFI party and backed by members of parliament from five other parties.

In 2014, police investigated five complaints of discrimination, mostly based on ethnicity, but Sidibé told La Dernière Heure newspaper that the problem is much more widespread. "Hundreds of people are turned away every day," she said.

Door staff at nightclubs and other venues can refuse entry based on dress code, a customer's behaviour, drink consumption or suspected use of drugs.

Sidibé said security personnel often acted outside the law and few partygoers knew their rights. A European directive from 2004 places the burden of proof on nightclub staff to show that they acted correctly, instead of complainants having to prove they were a victim of discrimination.

The Brussels MP says the city should follow the example of Ghent and require CCTV recording of all nightclub entrances. Admittance rules should be clearly displayed at the door and mystery shoppers would be sent to clubs to test their door policies.

The proposals will now be discussed by a committee in January before being put to a full vote in parliament, with Sidibé hoping any changes could be implemented in the next two years.

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