International solidarity

The City of Brussels organizes various campaigns and events on international solidarity. Each year, there's also a call for projects.

During the Fortnight of International Solidarity, the City of Brussels offers a wide range of actions to inform and raise awareness on international solidarity. The activities that are set up during these 2 weeks are also a showcase of the vitality of the associations in Brussels.

The 2023 edition is dedicated to Brussels - Crossroads of diasporas.

As in every edition, the theme is presented in a varied program of debates, concerts, performances, exhibitions, films, workshops,...

The City of Brussels is one of the first capitals to be awarded the title of External site Fair Trade Town. The City services, businesses, restaurants, associations, schools and residents are all committed to the promotion and consumption of fair trade products.

The City of Brussels also opts for fair trade products and integrates ethical criteria into its specifications. For example, the coffee in the new Administrative Centre will be 100% fair trade and staff will be regularly surprised with a fair trade breakfast.

The work clothes for staff are provided by companies that comply with the fundamental conventions of the ILO (International Labour Organisation) and ensure that their subsidiaries also comply with them. They must be members of a multi-party organisation such as the Fair Wear Foundation or equivalent, which can demonstrate the traceability of the production chain.

The labels that emphasise fair trade and insist on a fair price for producers are Fair Trade Max Havelaar, Fair Trade Sourced Ingredient farmers, WFTO World Fair Trade Organisation, Fair for Life, Biopartenaire, Biogarantie Belgium.

More info about the different labels that can help you with your purchases:

Are you part of an association, an NGO or are you a Brussels player committed to international solidarity? Do you want to set up international cooperation projects? Do you want to inform and raise awareness among Brussels residents about global development issues?

The City of Brussels has a budget of 150,000 euros to encourage international development projects or local projects about global education.

The call is annual. The rules and forms are published on this website during the first quarter.

International Solidarity call for projects 2024

Winners

The City of Brussels is actively involved in partnerships with cities in the South.

Brussels-Kimbanseke/Kinshasa

The historical ties between Belgium and the Democratic Republic of Congo are obvious. The partnership between the City of Brussels and Kinshasa has existed since 2002 but since 2008, the focus of the exchanges, through an agreement, has been on the municipality of Kimbanseke.

Kimbanseke is one of Kinshasa's 24 municipalities, a former rural area eroded by rapid urbanisation. It is the largest municipality in the country, with 237 square kilometres, and a very vulnerable population.

The City of Brussels and the municipality of Kimbanseke are developing several projects there:

The strengthening of Civil Status and Population Services which is part of a programme of Belgian development cooperation. This programme looks at the fight against poverty from the specific angle of strengthening the capacity of local governments to take control of their own development, through partnerships between municipalities on well-defined themes. Both cities have signed up to a new five-year plan, from 2022 to 2026.

Support to SOS Children's Villages Belgium for the Limpoba project. SOS VE BE develops family strengthening programmes based on sustainable and inclusive economic development, linked to improving the living conditions of the children of beneficiary families. When they launched a project in Kimbanseke, the partners decided to support the programme. The Limpoba project thus supports 200 families and their communities in developing parenting skills and a sustainable and inclusive source of income. The City of Brussels is supporting this project from 2021 to 2024.

Support to the women's empowerment project in Kinshasa's peripheral districts, AFPK, by CIPROC asbl. The project aims to create a support and training structure in basic management, agriculture and the use of social networks as a commercial tool to empower 200 women farmers in Kimbanseke. The City of Brussels is supporting this project from 2022 to 2024.

Detailed information on these projects is available on request from the International Solidarity Service.

Brussels-Morocco

In 2022, the City of Brussels developed a partnership with the association 'Afak pour la Santé Mentale' (AASM), which is active in mental health care in Casablanca and a pioneer in this field. This partnership takes the form of funding for the 'Right to Mental Health' project, which runs until December 2023.

The City's support aims to help the association achieve its objectives by professionalising its structure, strengthening its capacities and giving it the means to provide comprehensive care to patients with a view to their stabilisation and social reintegration.

Strategic measures are also being taken to raise awareness among Moroccan society about mental health challenges, which would reduce the marginalisation of patients.

The detailed project file is available on request from the International Solidarity Service.

Under the impulse of its Advisory Council for International Solidarity, the City of Brussels joined the Amnesty International Villes Lumières network in 2015. This network brings together cities and municipalities that wish to demonstrate their commitment to respecting and defending a range of human rights, such as the right to security, to equality between men and women, to freedom of conscience and religion, to freedom of assembly and association or the freedom to form a union, culture, housing and domicile, water and food and, finally, sustainable urban development.

Via this network, a municipality can adopt one or more 'people in danger', because they are deprived of one or more of these rights.

Vahid Afkari and Dorgelesse N'guessan

On 5 December 2022, the City of Brussels adopted two new persons at risk: Vahid Afkari and Dorgelesse N'guessan.

Support of Vahid Afkari and Dorgelesse N'guessan

Raif Badawi and Loujain al-Hathloul

In January 2021, the City decided to adopt two new people in danger: Raif Badawi and Loujain al-Hathloul.

Support to Loujain al-Hathloul and Raif Badawi

External site Raif Badawi is a Saudi writer and blogger who created the website Free Saudi Liberals in 2008 on which he campaigned for a moral liberalization of Saudi Arabia. In 2012 he was charged with apostasy and insulting Islam and sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1000 lashes. Badawi was finally released on 11 March 2022.

External site Loujain al-Hathloul, also detained in Saudi Arabia, is a Saudi women's rights activist who was first arrested in 2014 on the basis of laws prohibiting women from driving in Saudi Arabia. In May 2018, she was detained for communicating with about 20 foreign journalists present in her country and for applying for a post at the UN.

On 28 December 2020, she was sentenced to 5 years and 8 months in prison by a court specializing in anti-terrorism cases. She was found guilty of various activities prohibited by the Anti-Terrorism Act. Loujain al-Hathloul was finally released on 10 February 2021.

External site Give real freedom to Loujain al-Hathloul (Amnesty, in French)

Hamid Babaei

In 2015, the City of Brussels decided to support Hamid Babaei. Babaei is an Iranian PhD student from the ULg who was imprisoned in his country for 6 years in 2013 for attacking national security through communication with hostile states (Belgium).

In reality, he was then criticized for not agreeing to mentor other Iranian students who were also studying in Belgium. He was released in 2019 and finally got his visa to return to Liège and continue his thesis.

More info:

Brusseleir from February 2023 (PDF, 4.41 MB) (in French, portrait of Hamid Babaei, pages 18 and 19)

The non-profit organization Brissi has received a mandate from the City of Brussels to organize and undertake development cooperation projects and North-South relations, at a local and international level.

AGENDA

 

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