Lawyers have lodged a second lawsuit against an incoming ban on non-stunned meat in an area of Belgium, saying the country’s Jews were having their religious freedoms “trampled on”.
The latest legal action, citing human rights, was submitted by the Belgian Federation of Jewish Organizations (CCOJB), the Belgian section of the European Jewish Congress and the World Jewish Congress.
It follows a decision by the Parliament in Flanders to ban the non-stun slaughter of animals from 2019, affecting the country’s small Jewish and Muslim communities.
The lawsuit, brought with the help of US-based Lawfare Project, follows similar action against Walloon legislation last year.
“Belgian Jews cannot remain silent while their religious freedoms are trampled and nor should anyone else,” said Lawfare Project director Brooke Goldstein.
“Laws preventing Belgian citizens from peacefully practicing their faith will do nothing to heal the divisions in Belgian society and are an embarrassment to Belgium.”
The lawsuit argues that the legislation violates EU law, including the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, the European Convention on Human Rights and the Belgian Constitution itself, all of which guarantee freedom of religion.
The European Court of Human Rights has previously described kosher slaughter as “an essential aspect of practice of the Jewish religion”.