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Mini Miss Belgium is 'child labour' and 'inappropriate', says minister

16:16 20/06/2016

Belgium's minister of consumer affairs and work, Kris Peeters, has refused permission for the very first Mini Miss Belgium to take place on 21 July, calling the pageant "child labour” and, moreover, “inappropriate”. The social inspection agrees with minister Peeters, write Het Nieuwsblad and De Standaard. Organiser of the event, Darline Devos, however, plans to appeal the decision.

"Apart from the fact that I personally find the Mini Miss and Mini Mister elections very inappropriate and not a good idea, the legislation is clear," said Peeters. By Belgian law, children and adolescents under the age of 15 are not to be employed or subjected to conditions that could have a harmful effect on their welfare.

"By promoting an ideal of beauty, the Mini Miss election could possibly have an adverse impact on a large group of children,” the social inspection service ruled. “Appearance is something over which a child has no control. That makes a beauty contest different from a talent show or sporting event, because at least there the child can grow by exercising his or her talent and getting feedback.”

Organiser Darline Devos is committed to making the pageant go ahead anyway. "I'm going to create a file and present it to the labour inspectors with whom we have a good rapport. We are an organisation that only does business within the legal framework. There are nearly 200 girls registered; I'm not going to disappoint them,” she told the newspapers.

 

Written by Robyn Boyle

Comments

andrew.blumenth...

Maybe a good compromise would be to take the "beauty" part out of it completely and make it a real talent contest. Citing "child labour" as the reason is ridiculous. Children love to perform. Each year the English Comedy Club does a Pantomime that has a children's chorus and they are one of the highlights of the show. I can't imagine denying children the opportunity to perform on stage or on TV or in movies. That said, avoiding "promoting an ideal of beauty" to children is an excellent reason to deny permission for the pageant. So just say "no" to the pageant, but "yes" to a talent show called Mini Miss Belgium.

Jun 21, 2016 09:49
gellis

Subjecting little girls to a pageant seems ridiculous to many parents. However, for the government to disallow an activity "because I said so" is very troublesome.

Governments in Belgium have this nasty habit of interfering in people's lives when it suits them (No children's pageants! Sales must start and stop on these days! ... that sort of thing), instead of focusing on what really matters like security, a good road and transport network, clean streets, and the like.

When it comes to actual delivery of public services - let's say for instance - tunnels which are open or streets which are graffiti free (have you ever walked around Ixelles lately?).... there you have radio silence.

Oh, and only now after so much pain, have the authorities woken up to the horrors of Radical Islamism, festering, hiding, organising, right here in the middle of this city (not in the "suburbs" as so often mis-reported on by BBC and CNN).

From top to bottom, it is a meddlesome, do-almost-nothing, ineffective, inefficient government.

And thank goodness this country has what.... 77 ministers?

Whatever.

Jun 22, 2016 02:51