In most areas, Belgium respects the highest EU, OSCE and UN standards of human rights. Freedom of speech and media (including Internet), of assembly and gathering, academic freedom and many other are a norm. Church and state are separated, while politicians have rarely intervened, and that so far just verbally, and just over clear-cut cases of violent extremism disguised as religion. However, some small Christian groups complained about discrimination and a derogatory label “sects”. In the language policies, problems occur with using mother tongue outside one`s own linguistic environment. Regional or local authorities and many businesses often try to maintain monopoly of the locally spoken majority language. All those is severed because, unlike in Switzerland, there are many people
who cannot, or do not want to speak or learn to speak any other official language of the country than their own. Education system does too little, while media almost nothing, to encourage bilingualism. Even bigger problems are with the “new minorities” (such as immigrant communities). Roma are sometimes forced to move out of the urban areas by a discretionary decision of a local government. Since 2010, women dressing strictly according to Islamic code have encountered a ban on partial or total covering of face in public places. On the other hand, equality of women is highly regarded. Government actively promotes it. There is a specialized anti-discrimination ombuds-body. In various legislative bodies women are represented by around 40%. Same-sex marriage (since 2003), same-sex couple`s adoption of children (since 2006) and euthanasia of terminally ill (since 2002) are all legalized.