Brussels Journal Editor Threatened with Prosecution over Homeschooling

Yesterday my husband Paul Belien, the editor of this website, was summoned to the police station and interrogated. He was told that the Belgian authorities are of the opinion that, as a homeschooler, he has not adequately educated his children and, hence, is neglecting his duty as a parent, which is a criminal offence. The Ministry of Education has asked the judiciary to press charges and the judiciary told the police to investigate and take down his statement.

It appears that the Belgian authorities are again considering prosecution – the second time in barely two months. This time the claim is not that my husband posted allegedly “racist” texts on this website but that he is failing his children.

My husband, a lawyer by training, and I, a former university lecturer, have homeschooled four of our five children through high school. These four have meanwhile moved on to university. Our youngest child is also being homeschooled, but she has yet to obtain her high school certificate, for which she is currently taking exams. Like her four siblings she takes these exams before the Central Examination Board (CEB), an institution run by the Ministry of Education. The Belgian Constitution, written in 1831, allows parents to homeschool. The CEB exists to enable people who have not attended or who have failed school to obtain an official high school certificate.

Since we started homeschooling in the 1990s the homeschooling movement in Belgium has been growing. The number of homeschoolers is small, comprising only 202 children in primary school and 311 children in high school. Nevertheless the figure has quadrupled in the past five years, as parents are seceding from the official schools where drugs and violence are rampant and pupils are indoctrinated with political correctness and socialism.

The fact that a growing group of children seems to be escaping from the government’s influence clearly bothers the authorities. Three years ago a new school bill was introduced. The new bill refers to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and it obliges homeschooling parents to fill out a questionaire and sign an official “declaration of homeschooling” in which they agree to school their children “respecting the respect [sic] for the fundamental human rights and the cultural values of the child itself and of others.”

The declaration does not specify what “respecting the respect for the fundamental human rights and the cultural values of the child itself and of others” means. It states, however, that government inspectors decide about this and adds – and here is the crux of the matter – that if the parents receive two negative reports from the inspectors they will have to send their child to an official government recognized school.

My husband and I have refused to sign this statement since we are unwilling to put our signature under a document that forces us to send our children to government controlled schools if two state inspectors decide on the basis of arbitrary criteria that we are not “respecting the respect for the fundamental human rights and the cultural values of the child itself and of others.”

According to the Ministry of Education we have violated the law. The judiciary asked the police to take down my husband’s statement, but he refused to sign any document. He was informed that he might soon be taken to court.

Last month Michael Farris, the chairman of the American Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), warned that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child could make homeschooling illegal in the U.S., even though the US Senate has never ratified this Convention.

According to some activist judges the UN Convention is “customary international law. [...] The fact that virtually every other nation in the world has adopted it has made it part of customary international law, and it means that it should be considered part of American jurisprudence.”

Under the Convention severe limitations are placed on parents’ right to direct and train their children. Under Article 13 parents could be subject to prosecution for any attempt to prevent their children from interacting with material they deem unacceptable. Under Article 14 children are guaranteed “freedom of thought, conscience and religion” – in other words, children have a legal right to object to all religious training. And under Article 15 the child has a right to “freedom of association.”

Michael Farris 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.” The HSLDA chairman said that, “by the same reasoning, parents would be denied the ability to homeschool their children unless the government first talked with their children and the government decided what was best. Moreover, parents would no longer have the right to bring up their children according to their own philosophical or religious beliefs, as the government, following the guidelines of a UN “committee of experts” would determine what religious teaching, if any, served the child’s best interest.”

Belgium, always quick to adopt and implement any measures aimed at undermining traditional morality and destroying the family, is already putting the decrees of the UN Convention into practice. Article 29 of the Convention stipulates that it is the goal of the State to direct the education of the people it governs toward the philosophy of the New World Order as “enshrined in the charter of the United Nations.” It also stipulates that each child must be prepared to be a responsible citizen by having “the spirit of understanding, peace, toleration, equity of sexes, and friendship [for] all peoples, ethnic, national and religious groups of indigenous origin.” Except probably those to which their parents belong.

Hence all homeschooling parents in Belgium are sent a form in which they are ordered to sign away their parental right to choose their children’s education, to adopt the “mimimum goals set out in the [2003] law on compulsory education,” namely “to respect the fundamental human rights and the cultural values of the child itself and of others” (with the state unilaterally deciding what these human rights and “cultural values” are), and to send their children to state approved schools if state inspectors deem that their schooling does not comply with the aforementioned “minimum goals.”

Parents who sign away their right to educate their own children are subsequently harassed and intimidated. Three families that we know have had to allow inspectors into their homes who interrogate and intimidate their children, then write a report that they are not in compliance with the minimum requirements (viz. the cultural values clause) set out in the signed document, announce that they will return for further inspection and that the children who fail to qualify will be forcibly sent to schools that are officially recognised by the government.

Nowhere, however, do these inspectors outline what they are inspecting and what criteria they apply. After a lifetime of inspecting schools with clearly defined curricula to determine whether the latter qualify for subsidies and recognition of their certificates, they are now set loose on families with no other purpose than to find fault and remove their children from their care. The families do not want subsidies or recognition of certificates, so there are no objective criteria for them to meet. Their children are questioned randomly on a variety of topics, irrespective of their own educational goals, age or curriculum. And they cannot protest the inspectors’ arbitrary verdict as they have signed away their right as citizens to appeal to a higher educational authority or to the courts.

Parents who do not sign away their right to educate their own children are regarded as not educating their children at all, and hence are guilty of a criminal offence.



It's the UN Wot Done It, 20 June 2006

Speaking truth vs losing your ...

life or kids...

I guess it just depends upon what you are speaking about.

Speak the truth about Islam, expect to lose your life.
Speak the truth about a socialist society - expect to lose your kids.

Alexandra & Paul, as fellow homeschoolers who cannot imagine handing our children over to the state that is run by Kofi Annan (in otherwords, by a beaurocrat 1000's levels up the food chain), we salute you.

It is so obvious this is "terrorism" against anyone who speaks the truth - something the state cannot determine. You know you are fighting the good fight. Please don't lose heart.

A bright side?

Don't you think that such laws and the officials who put them into practice really help us to verify where we stand? Besides, it's a golden opportunity to ask ourselves what matters in life and how much we believe in it. I'm a homeschooling parent myself and I see how unfair treatment of my children helps me sharpen my vision concerning their future. I also get more involved in their growth and I see them maturing and understanding the socialist world better. Let's fight and be more positive.

who is behind this?

And it is now, after having successfully home schooled 4 children that 'they' have to crack down on this family? Could it be that there is any connection with the existence of this site? And who is finally in charge of those inspectors threatening mr Belien? It is mr Frank Vandenbroucke, the minister of Education. This minister is a left wing socialist, a (former?) Stalinist. Coincidence? Right! This is Stalinist persecution to the core: state people nosing around in your house, trying to pry something out of child that may incriminate you.

Hey, Vandenbroucke, can you get any more disgusting?


direct from the mini(edu)cation...
Law, Say the Gardeners.
is the sun,
is the 1 all gardners obey
Tomorrow, yesterday, to-day.

Law is the wisdom of the old...
says the priest with a priestly look:
LAW is the words in my book pulpit steeple

says the judge:
(as he looks down his nose)
"speaking clearly and most severely...
as i've told u b4
LAW is as you know, i spose
once more
Law is The Law."

says the scholar "Law is crimes"
punished by places and times...

Others say, LaW is our fate
others say law is our State;
others say others say
Law is no more
Law has gone away.
"No More ...",
W.H. Auden

That's Messed Up...

I always thought the idea of home schooling somewhat odd. I certainly believe that a parent, if of a mind to do so, wants to undertake the responsibility of painstakingly teaching a child all that is neccesary of a good education; then they should be allowed to self-educate ones children.

I do believe it should be a requirement that home schooled children should have to take the same annual exams as children attending like grades of learning advancement. Or even be allowed to "challenge-test" to a higher grade of advancement.

So, why is there any room for arbitray interpretation by any goverment agency? Either, a child has learned and the parent has schooled or they have not. Test...Find Out. Be done with it.

As to whether a child also learns, from ones parents behavior, unpleasant to goverment, for instance protesting, having individual ideals, holding elected officials to account and insisting that no one is above the law (George!). This is an intrusion on privacy and an attack on the culture of a "Family". Even in it's worst representation, as were a parent to teach hatred and bigotry, I am hard pressed to say a parent does not have a right to impart their sense of the world to one's child, rightly or wrongly.

Now, as to what others may label as truth and wish to enlight upon a child of mine, that requires the greater scrutiny.


I have been in Belgium for a short time, but I am amazed by the lack of accountability in the system. The responses you have had are of no help to you or your children and it appears that you are left to face these repressive forces by yourself. Have the Belgian people(flemish, french, or other) lost any sense of protecting each other? Do they not have any sense of rallying to right unjust wrongs? Are there any governmental or other sources from whom people can demand redress of problems that should be remedied?

The UN is another layer of bureacracy for the state governments to hide behind to enable enforcement of unpopular and repressive measures. You seemingly have few recourses already in Belgium. What is going to happen when the measures implemented get to your doorstep? It is time to recognize the UN as the repressive and indoctrinating organization that it is, and perhaps the unaccountable portions of the government of your country, too.


Although I may feel sympathy for your will to homeschool your children, I think that your editorial omit to specify that education in Belgium is regulated by local governments, not by the federal government. so the authorities you are dealing with are  FLEMISH authorities.

  Is it  to be politically correct that you denounce "belgian authorities" as the source of your problems? The ministry of education is not belgian anymore but either Flemish or French-speaking or german speaking.

I feel there is a real problem here, because this debate is a Flemish one, not a Belgian one. You are denouncing the wrong level of authority .  You cannot ignore this  very fact. So, would you please correct this factual error?

In addition, after writing my comment, I noticed that the flemish version of your editorial states "Flemish authority" instead of "Belgian authority", which is correct. So I feel unfair that your non-flemish readers are somehow led to believe that the Belgian state is still in charge of the educational system.


Flanders vs Belgium

It was the Belgian police that questioned me, not the Flemish one, because the latter does not exist.
It is the Belgian judiciary that is dealing with the case, not the Flemish one, because the latter does not exist.
It was Belgium that signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, not Flanders, because Flanders is not a UN member state.
It is the Belgian law concerning the duty to educate one's children that they accuse us of violating.
But, as spraynasal points out, there are three ministries of education in Belgium: one for the Dutch-speakers (Flemish ministry of education), one for the French-speakers (Walloon ministry of education) and one for the German-speakers.

Parents rights and children rights

With the whole issue of homeschooling, what is at stake is the rule of law.

Parents who disagree with the official school prospects hav also the option of placing their children in private school (like, in Brussels, the European school). If they can afford it, of course. But if they can't...and if they don't want to migrate to countries offering an education more suited to their wishes...

the question is: Even if you, personally, are able to privide your children with a good education by homeschooling them, how are you going to prevent abusive or ignorant parents from "educating" their children the wrong way, if there is no social control of homeschooling parents? If I am a pimp and I send my teenage daughter to prostitute, what if there is no law allowing the authorities to protect the child's right to education? Don't we need a policy balancing the rights ( and duties) of parents with the rights of the children? Isn't there a serious potential of abuse if the authorities would let parents do what they think fit with the children?

Insane Bureaucrats

I would have no problem signing an oath
“respecting the respect (sic) for the fundamental human rights and the cultural values of the child itself and of others.”
It's often expedient humor the state. And whoever wrote about "the cultural values" of children obviously doesn't know the first thing about children. They are not born with cultural values. It is the parents' responsibility to instill values.

But the other part of the oath is problematic. Who wants to cede any power to a bureaucrat? I wouldn't trust a bureaucrat to fix my plumbing; why would I willingly put bureaucrats in charge of raising my child?

Big Brother

Incredible and outrageous, trying to hurt somebody by attacking his/her family... Of course this has nothing to do with home schooling as such, just an attempt to damage Mr. Belien and his family.

But what can you expect in a 'country' like Belgium. Led by left-wing, politically correct bunch of airheads...only concern they have is protecting their own positions and hitting down hard on any dissident voice

If one views Western Civilization as Rome

You are living in Rome near the beginning of the end. Move to Byzantium before it's too late. You can't fight a people's collective need for cultural (possibly followed by literal) suicide. You can only get out of the way and make sure you aren't caught up in it.

Still, it's hard to leave the home you love. You have my sympathies and my prayers.

Keep up the fight!

Hang in there, Paul and Alexandra. Fight for you children and fight to keep the "Journal" online. We need you and we need you where you are. I'm an American and homeschoolers are already under attack here. Granted, if you came here, your youngest would be an university graduate before we reach the point that Belgium is at now, but it's coming!

Jovan-Marya Weismiller, T.O.Carm.

Bill of Rights

I emigrated to the United States in 1971.

I learned that American Bill of Rights is almost a word for word translation of the « Joyeuse Entrée » so dear to pre-socialist Belgium.

The "crapulistes", my moniker for la crapule socialiste, have fédérâlebolisé the mother country.

What has become of the Joyeuse Entrée is a tragedy, triste à dire. What a shame!

Enough said, goodbye now!

I feel your anger as if was me...

Dear Alexandra,

I feel your anger as if was me who was ask to go to jury, that’s the first I would like to say.
But I have to admit that I envy you as you have a education system that allow you to home schooling your children. In Spain is not a=only that kids have right of association, that’s peanuts! They have right to go on strike, meaning that just when some of them get together and decide it, that is enough to be free not to attend lectures.
Moreover, the fact is education is different upon where the children live. In Galicia for instance, we have to educate our children in Galician language no matter if the mother tongue of the pupil is Spanish or Galician and careless what Constitution established about official languages, rights and duties of knowing and using languages. There is no way to educate your children is Spanish, even if you can pay a private school.
The vasques children learn to read using sentences as "Spain invade Vasque Country and treat us like a colony", this is no very important compare with others that state something like "Spanish have to be expulsed, attacked them is what a good vasque must do" or "the war against Spain is during long time" or "Spanish are famous to be lazy and cowards but vasque are known to be brave and hard worker".

Milola and Piru, from Spain.

dear piru

I'm not so sure Alexandra is going to like your message. The “Vlaams belang” party she is an elected member from, is the equivalent of the nationalist party batasuna. I’m sure in their textbooks is stated as well that the French speaking part of Belgium oppressed the Dutch speaking part. And as of laziness…. In Flanders schools are exclusively in Dutch, except for some towns around Brussels, and the Vlaams Belang would give anything to take this privileges for the French speaking population away.

Dear Peter Van der Heyden

Dear Peter, in my article I was talking about citizen’s rights and about freedom in a free country. About the need that children would not be indoctrinated and controlled by government institutions. I am also a supporter of the right of the parents to decide in which official languages would have the children to study, bearing in mind that if Spanish is their mother tongue it would be stupid that they would have to study parts of the body, for instances, and mane different for the school than in ordinary life.

On the other hand and unless "Vlaams belang" party is dead threaten any other citizens who don’t think like them I would like to point out that Batasuna is not like any other nationalist party. Their way of working is not only manipulate children in order to brain washed them (so they became convince those false principles that sustained any artificial independencies) but also use young people to be part of civil gang that burn business and bomb people who do not agree with their believes.
Batasuna is a terrorist group, as ETA, Al Qaeda or Baader Meinhof. The fact that they have an international marketing department is just because they are very interested in maintain the public image of nationalist party but they are not.

I've a friend who is

I've a friend who is undergoing the same treatment by the apparatchiks of the worst side of Belgium, the socialist republic of Wallonia.
He is a medic and his troubles started a long time ago because he refused to have his children examined by the medical center of the school. Since that time, he removed his children from the school and started to homeschool them. If he had the possibilities, he would certainly leave for a better place.


As an American currently living in Belgium and married to a Flemish, it never ceases to amaze me as to what lengths the government in Brussels will go to try and snuff out all opposition to their way of twisted way of thinking. Children belong to the family and NOT to a state-run government.  

Do as we are planning on doing and return to America to live. I have family who were home-schooled and are now excelling in universities there.

Good luck to you both and your children!!!




Belgium thugery-Mafioso style

It appears that the Belgian authorities have decided to run Paul Belien and his family out of the country just as they have Ayaan Hirsi Ali.


Right in front of our eyes, we are watching a bit of arm twisting.  Obviously, just threatening Mr Belien personally with prosecution on the racism charge was not enough.  Soooo.......they have done what any thug on the street would do when they need more leverage.  Threaten the man's family.


This is not about home schooling at all.


No doubt, if they do not succeed in this...they will find something else.


Belgium, find your voice.  Protect this man and his family for ultimately you will be protecting yours.

Europe's "Freedom"

It strikes me how many on the Left wish to model their countries after European ones. What you guys have is not freedom.

It’s one thing to fight

It’s one thing to fight the good fight, however, a good commander and planner will always seek to chose the battleground and terrain which gives them the greatest advantage and avoid those environments and engagements which are weighted in favor of the oppositions forces. That the government has quite obviously decided to find some means to ‘shut you down’ don’t kid yourself for a second, not only are you on hostile territory, they’ve also the advantage of far greater resources.

Remember, even if we’re lucky enough to avoid a nuclear nightmare this is still quite likely to be a long and contracted war. One commander free is worth far more than a whole army behind barbed-wire.


Listen! Hear that whirring noise? It's George Orwell revolving in his grave.

Bob Doney

"Three families that we know

"Three families that we know have had to allow inspectors into their homes"

Your working or teaching at home does not diminish your privacy rights.

You do not have to allow anyone entrance unless they come with a warrant, it doesn't matter if they are TV-inspectors, social inspection or education goons.

The Declaration of Independence: The second paragraph only.

"Will it have to be done again"?

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

Paul and Alexandra, you are in our prayers.

Freedom isn't free!

Multicultural plutocracy rears its ugly head again.

This comes down to state indoctrination in its fullest sense. These procedures are certainly not meant in the child's advantage.
Parents who choose to homeschool make a very, very difficult and responsible choice.
The easiest thing is to send your children to a state school where everything is cared for.
The fact alone that a parents makes such a difficult decision proves a deep involvement in child rearing.

On an average homeschooled children finish their tests for the 'central commission' at age 15-16 and thus start university earlier.
Does this frighten the state?
No, they fear loosing their total grip on the ideological multicultural indoctrination of its "subjects".

With our taxes we pay for Christian, Jewish, Islamic,... schools. Apparantly White Europeans don't have the same rights as do others.

Paul, you might want to adopt a Judeo-Buddhist-Islamic-Zoroastric syncretic creed and hide behind a minority-mask.


Paul Belien, you are a real mensch, and I mean this in the most complimentary way. And Alexandra Colen is equally praiseworthy. You are two who are doing your best for your kids, and what could be better than that?

Don't fight... just leave

Do what smart Europeans have done for the past 200 years, move to the USA. Your kids and grandkids will be safe here.

"Do what smart Europeans

"Do what smart Europeans have done for the past 200 years, move to the USA. Your kids and grandkids will be safe here."

no they won't because americans are letting their country be invaded by mexicans and they keep on applauding Bush even though he is a traitor who wants to turn his country into a mexican colony. It amazes me to see that so many so-called american conservatives don't realize how their country is being destroyed by Bush just as it was by Clinton.

Democrats and Republicans are the same, none of these two parties are going to do anything to stop the mexican invasion and in 50 years whites will be a minority and it will be like post-apartheid South Africa with massacres and rapes on a mass scale. American cities are already violent zoos with all sorts of ethnic gangs running criminal enterprises on their territories. The police already has its hands full and with the mexican border deliberately left unprotected the lowest of the criminal scum of Mexico is going north to greener pastures.

The only advantage I see of living in America is the easy access to lots of guns. Buy guns now cause you're going to need them.

Violent zoos

"American cities are already violent zoos with all sorts of ethnic gangs running criminal enterprises on their territories."

I have the faintest of faint notions that this sort of thing has happened before in America. But I expect I imagined it.

"whites will be a minority"

Well, yes they will. "Whites" will be a minority everywhere. We'd better get used to the idea!

Bob Doney

Violent zoos

"whites will be a minority"

"Well, yes they will. "Whites" will be a minority everywhere. We'd better get used to the idea!"

I doubt the founding fathers of the United States would agree with such defeatism.

What, exactly, have non-white cultures ever contributed to the world? Anything as technologically advanced as Aspirin? Nope. So forget about Silicon Valley, MIT, NASA and Intel. Forget the lot. And imagine the whole world looking like Somalia and Zimbabwe. Imagine a grossly inferior people asphixiating the world.

Get used to the idea.

A different view

@ A. Colen

I certainly sympathise with your plight, and with your desire to have more say over the education of your children.  But I fear that you are fighting the wrong battle here, and also that you are too pessimistic about the ability of children to 'survive' public schools with their 'critical thinking skills' intact.  

The idea of compulsory 'public' education rests on the belief that, without it, many children would not get a minimum proper education.  I have little doubt that in many cases that idea would turn out to be a correct one, and that many children would not get a proper education outside a compulsory public education system.  Hence the state, and all citizens, have an interest in ensuring that all children get a minimum education. 

At the same time I have no illusions about the ideological nature of the contemporary educational establishment in Belgium, and in many other places as well.  I think that the focus should be on changing the nature of the educational system via political means, with the goal of making it less ideological and more 'neutral' with focus on the 'basics' (the three R's), and to complement (and to some extent counteract) the public educational system in the home.  Surely your children are lucky enough to have the benefit of enterprising and intelligent parents, who would have no difficulty to prick through some of the ideological nonsense they might have heard at school.  It would also give an invaluable 'practical' life lesson to your childeren about the nature of the society in which they live.     

Leave. Now!

If Belgium has gone this far you need to get out now.  They will be killing Jews within the lifetime of the averatge adult.


Frightening, just abandon your children and nobody will intervene. Transmit the knonwledge you accumululated in a lifetime to your children and you risk going to prison. The almighty state will then take 'care' of your children.

If I understood your story

If I understood your story correctly, you both refused to sign a paper that waivered your absolute rights to give your children a good education. Instead, if you don't comply with the rules set out by Big Brother, you're stigmatized as a 'bad parent' and your children get sent to a (ehrm) normal school with all it's bad influences. I think this is really outreageous. Freedom has been limited again by our so-called government, in favor for a cause we absolutely don't believe in.

I wish you both very much strength to fight these prosecutions.