European Commission assesses implementation of non-discrimination Directives, calls for strengthening equality bodies
The European Commission released a joint report on the implementation of the Race Equality and the Employment Equality Directives. According to the report, key challenges include a lack of public awareness of rights and underreporting of discrimination cases.
To ensure that EU rights to equal treatment are properly applied on the ground, the Commission recommends Member States endeavour to facilitate reporting of discrimination for victims by improving access to complaints mechanisms. "National equality bodies have a crucial role to play and the Commission will continue to support the networking of equality bodies and ensure that they can effectively perform their tasks, as required by EU law".
The report also stresses the need to "strengthen the role of the national equality bodies as watchdogs for equality as a means to make a crucial contribution to more effective implementation and application of the Directives".
Furthermore, it is highlighted that according to EU law "the Member States are obliged to ensure that equality bodies have the powers and the resources that are necessary to provide assistance to victims of discrimination. In view of a growing number of concerns in that respect, the Commission is currently scrutinising more widely the Member Statesâ€™ compliance with the requirements of this Directive (and the gender equality Directives) concerning the national equality bodies. This involves checking that each equality body has the required mandate and powers, but also that it actually effectively performs all the tasks set out in the Directive".
More information can be accessed on this page and the report can be downloaded here.
National Roma integration contact points discuss cooperation with equality bodies on combating Roma discrimination
The 4th meeting of the national Roma contact points (responsible for overseeing the national Roma integration strategies from EU Member States) took place on 13-14 February in Brussels and was focused on the better implementation of integration measures at local level.
In the run up to the event Vice-President Viviane Reding, EU Justice Commissioner, said "Today's meeting is a good opportunity for those who have their eyes and ears on the ground to discuss amongst each other and with equality bodies how to make national actions more effective, and how to improve the integration of Roma across Europe."
Ms. Anne Gaspard, the Executive Director of Equinet, delivered an introductory presentation explaining the important role equality bodies can play in combating discrimination against Roma and in successfully implementing national Roma integration strategies. She also outlined the work Equinet and its members have done in relation to Roma issues.
European Parliament (EP) adopted a non-binding recommendation for a future EU roadmap against homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.
In its judgment T.M. and C.M. v. the Republic of Moldova (no. 26608/11) published on 28 January 2014 the European Court of Human Rights held that the Stateâ€™s failure to protect women against domestic violence amounts to gender discrimination even if this failure is not intentional.
European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) launched the report"Access to data protection remedies in EU Member States" and related to it the "Handbook on European data protection law".
FRA has published a paper on "Fundamental rights in the future of the European Unionâ€™s Justice and Home Affairs".
The Council of Europe Steering Committee for Human Rights published its Examination of the implementation of Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers to Member States on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The European Disability Forum launched its manifesto for the EU 2014 elections "Key priorities of the disability movement", urging candidate MEPs and political parties to include priorities into their electoral programmes such as: reform Europeâ€™s economic and social policies to ensure the protection and enjoyment of human rights of Europeans with disabilities; make goods and services accessible for all; adopt the proposed general non-discrimination directive; ratify by the EU and by all Member states of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD); establish mechanisms within EU institutions to mainstream the UNCRPD.
Transgender Europe launched Europe-wide Campaign "Access All Areas! Recognition Opens Doors."urging decision makers and European societies to recognize the serious human rights violations trans people face in their every day lives.
Amnesty International launched its report"The state decides who I am: Lack of legal gender recognition for transgender people in Europe"
Age Platform Europe launched the Thematic Network on Innovation for Age-Friendly Environments to set up a large EU wide community of local and regional authorities and other relevant stakeholders across the EU who want to work together to find smart and innovative evidence based solutions to support active and healthy ageing and develop age-friendly environments across the EU.