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