Expertise centre on sects suspends activities due to staff shortage

Belgium's Centre for Information and Advice on Harmful Sectarian Organisations (IACSSO) will suspend its activities until further notice at the end of June. The centre, which is part of the Federal Public Service Justice, claims it is no longer able to carry out its mission due to a structural staff shortage.

The IACSSO maps dangerous sectarian organisations in Belgium and answers questions from individuals, press and public authorities. It provides legal guidance and drafts advice or recommendations on its own initiative or at the request of the authorities, and examines the links between sects in Belgium and internationally.

“We are no longer able to carry out our services in an adequate and respectful manner,” a spokesperson for the centre said. “The chronic shortage of staff compromises the quality of our work, both for the public and the authorities. In addition, it is detrimental to the health of employees, due to the psychosocial pressure and high workload.”

In its most recent multi-year report for the period 2017-2023, the IACSSO said it had repeatedly reminded the FPS Justice and the Justice minister's office of the importance of recruitment due to declining staff numbers.

The centre said it would complete its outstanding cases “to minimise the impact on the people involved”.


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