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Equinet Members' Bulletin
Network Updates

March 2017

Dear Equinet Members,
This Members’ Bulletin gathers the main Equinet internal updates, with a view to 
provide you with a clearer overview of Equinet activities. We very much hope it will be useful in your day-to-day work and we would be grateful if you could disseminate it among your colleagues. Your feedback is also greatly appreciated.

Should you have any comments or further questions, please do not hesitate to contact Jessica Machacova, Equinet
Membership and Policy Officer ( / 0032 2 212 31 80).
Equinet Updates

Call for proposals: An Equinet paper on the evolution of the mandates and resources of equality bodies

Deadline: Tuesday 2nd May

Equinet is commissioning a research paper on the evolution of the mandates and resources of equality bodies over the past decade. The planned research will aim to elucidate how the mandates and resources of national equality bodies have developed, and if possible correlative relationships can be found between them.

As the research will address both budgets and mandates and require some statistical analysis, we were hoping for your help in disseminating this call among eligible researchers that may find the research project interesting.

The details of the call and the terms of reference are available here.
Equinet contact person: Katrine Steinfeld, Policy Officer – Tel: 0032 2 212 31 85

Equinet Factsheet - LGBTI List of Actions - Request for information

Deadline: Wednesday 5th April

According to the Equinet 2017 Work Plan, this year, the Working Group on Policy Formation will discuss and produce a Factsheet on the List of Actions by the European Commission to advance LGBTI equality.
This tool will take into account the experience of equality bodies at national level, the learnings from the 2013 Equinet
Perspective Equality Bodies promoting Equality and Non-Discrimination for LGBTI People and the first annual report of the LGBTI list of actions.

It will be published on the occasion of the IDAHOT day on 17th May. Please find here a concept note with additional background information.
During its last meeting, the Working Group members decided to focus the factsheet on:
  • The commitment in the implementation report to engage the High Level Group on Racism and other forms of Intolerance in a good practice exchange seminar on bullying and harassment of LGBTI people. We would particularly like to bring the expertise of equality bodies to bear on this initiative.
  • The Action n°4 of the List of Actions on “Supporting key actors responsible to promote and advance equal rights for LGBTI people in the EU”, specifically the following areas and actors: Education, Business, and Health.
The content of the factsheet will be therefore based on examples of actions provided by Equinet members. We would be grateful if you could take the time to consider the short questionnaire and provide us with recent examples of actions you took in these areas.
Please send the questionnaire back to by Wednesday 5th April.
Equinet contact person: Jessica Machacova, Membership & Policy Officer – Tel: 0032 2 212 31 80

Survey of equality bodies appointed under Article 4 of Directive 2014/54/EU (free movement of workers and their families)

Deadline: Friday 21st April

This survey is addressed to all Equinet member equality bodies.
Its primary target group is equality bodies that have been designated or are likely to be designated as Article 4 bodies under Directive 2014/54/EU on measures facilitating the exercise of rights conferred on workers in the context of freedom of movement for workers.

However, we encourage all Equinet members to answer the first two questions in order to gather information about the extent to which equality bodies may or not have been involved in and consulted during the process of designating the Article 4 body in their country. For further information on the Directive, please refer to Equinet’s discussion paper and conference 
summary on the topic.

We invite equality bodies' representations invited to the European Commission workshop for designated bodies on 27th April to inform Equinet secretariat of their intended participation. 

Please fill in the survey by Friday 21st April. 
Equinet contact person: Tamás Kádár, Head of Legal and Policy – Tel: 0032 2 212 31 83

Equinet Conference - Advancing Equality: the Potential of Equality Duties (Brussels, 4th May 2017)

Register by Friday 21st April

This conference sets out to share the experiences of implementing equality duties, as well as good practice examples and discuss possibilities and challenges in introducing such duties in other jurisdictions.

It is based on the study Making Europe More Equal: A Legal Duty? commissioned by Equinet in 2016.

This Equinet conference is aimed at senior experts from national equality bodies, as well as from EU and international institutions and agencies, representatives from NGOs, national ministries, NHRIs and Ombudsman institutions, policy and legal experts, social partners and other organisations active in the field of equality.

Please register via this link by 21 April 2017.
Equinet can only cover the costs of travel and accommodation for one staff member per member organisation. A second person registering from the same organisation will be put on a waiting list and seats remaining after the deadline will be allocated to people on the list based on a first come first served basis.

More information, as well as the agenda, is available here
Equinet contact person: Katrine Steinfeld, Policy Officer – Tel: 0032 2 212 31 85

Call for equality bodies' 2016 annual reports

2016 has come and gone, and was no doubt a very busy year for all of you!

In order to share the fruits of your work, please feel free to send us a link to your 2016 Annual Reports, together with a short summary in English of the main outcomes (if a summary is not already available in English). We will be happy to include these on our website, as well as in our external newsletters.

Additionally, if you wish to send us one or two physical copies, we will be happy to display that amongst our members publications here at the Equinet offices!
If you wish to be included in the April Newsbook, please send the link and summary by 24 April. 
Equinet contact person: Sarah Cooke O'Dowd, Communication Officer – Tel: 0032 2 212 31 84

Equinet meets with human rights defenders in Poland

On the fringes of the Equinet board meeting in Warsaw on 16 March, Equinet board members and staff met with key actors in the field of equality in Poland, including the Commissioner for Human Rights Adam Bodnar, the Plenipotentiary for Civil Society and Equal Treatment and representatives of civil society.

More information is available here

Latest Equinet publications

Highlights of Equinet's work in 2015/6

Equinet has been busy over the past couple of years!

This report covers the highlights of Equinet activities from August 2015 until December 2016. Looking at this one and a half year period allows us to review not only some of the key activities during that time, but also to highlight the achievements in delivery of our priorities under the first period covered by our Strategic Plan 2015-2018.

Download the report here


Discussion paper on fighting discrimination on the ground of race and ethnicity

Race and ethnic origin was the first ground on which EU legislation required Member States to set up equality bodies. Many Member States did so even before this became a legally binding requirement under EU law.

This discussion paper was drafted by Equinet’s Working Group on Equality Law and aims to discuss key legal issues and challenges, available tools and good practices in fighting discrimination on the ground of race and ethnic origin.

The discussion paper is available here

Perspective on equality bodies combating discrimination against and promoting equality for young people

The Youth Perspective is authored by Niall Crowley (independent expert), and is based on a roundtable discussion of Equinet’s Policy Formation Working Group and on a survey of the Equinet members.

It aims to draw out, analyse and learn from the work and experience of equality bodies in combating discrimination against young people and to tease out the implications of their work for policy and practice development.

The Perspective is available here

Strategic meeting with European Union Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) and ENNHRI

On 27 February, Equinet Chair Evelyn Collins and Executive Director Anne Gaspard met with the Chair and Secretary General of European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI), Lora Vidović and Debbie Kohner, as well as FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty and heads of departments to review past cooperation and outline future strategic cooperation.

The objective of this meeting was to discuss institutional cooperation between the three organisations, including shared concerns and opportunities for support and collaboration.

More information about the meeting is available here.

Equinet Seminar: Equality bodies addressing discrimination against persons with intellectual disabilities (Zagreb, 9th and 10th March 2017)

Presentations available

On 9th and 10th March 2017, Equinet co-organised with the Croatian Ombudswoman for Persons with Disabilities a capacity-building seminar on addressing discrimination against persons with intellectual disabilities

Presentations and pictures of the seminar are available on the
Equinet website
A summary of the main conclusions and learnings of the event will be made available in the coming days. 

Equinet Working Paper on Developing Standards for Equality Bodies

Toolbox for Equinet members, Social Media Kit and call for translation

In June 2016, Equinet officially launched its working paper on developing standards for equality bodies. This is the result of discussions that took place in the framework of the Equinet Cluster on Standards in 2015, as well as contributions and comments provided by Equinet members.
It seeks to establish positions that equality bodies could promote, negotiate and advance vis-à-vis European and national administrations in the establishment of standards for equality bodies at European level and their implementation at national level.

Toolbox for Equinet members & Social media kit

On Monday 16th January, an email was sent to all heads of equality bodies and Equinet contact persons. This communication aims to encourage Equinet members and suggest guidelines for promoting the Working Paper and its content. In particular, two documents were sent:


The Working Paper is now available in English, French, Czech, Dutch, German, Serbian and Slovak. If your organisation would consider its translation it in your national language, please get in touch with Tamás Kádár, Head of Legal and Policy (
Read and download the Working Paper in English, French, Czech, Dutch, German, Serbian and Slovak here
Equinet contact person: Tamás Kádár, Head of Legal and Policy – Tel: 0032 2 212 31 83

Equinet Working Groups


Working Group on Communication Strategies and Practices

  •  The Working Group met in Vienna, hosted by the Austrian Ombud for Equal Treatment, on 21 March 2017.
  • Communication expert Lilly Korpiola spoke to us about the challenges for equality bodies in a changing media society and how to deal with those challenges. 
  • We discussed the key barriers and challenges equality bodies face in communication at present, which include: the current climate, their lack of an authoritative voice, public complacency, balancing communication on different grounds and within grounds and mandates, language used, how to reach wider audiences, creating community online and offline
  • A full set of notes will be available by the end of the week on the internal website:  
Equinet contact person: Sarah Cooke O’Dowd, Communication Officer – Tel: 0032 2 212 31 84

Working Group Equality Law

  • The first meeting of the Working Group in 2017 will take place in Brussels, on Wednesday, 10 May. Members of the WG will discuss discrimination on the basis of religion or belief, analyzing the rich case law and jurisprudence from recent years. By the end of the year, the WG will produce an update to their report on ‘A question of faith – religion in belief in Europe’ (published in 2011).
  • The Working Group also continues its monitoring of cases communicated by the European Court of Human Rights in order to identify cases of high relevance for equal treatment and non-discrimination where Equinet could seek to submit a third-party intervention (subject to agreement by all Equinet members).
Equinet contact person: Tamás Kádár, Head of Legal and Policy – Tel: 0032 2 212 31 83

Working Group Gender Equality

  • The Working Group was hosted by the Hungarian Commissioner for Fundamental Rights in Budapest
  • Working Group members shared updates from their national contexts.
  • Working Group members from Albania, the Czech Republic, France, Hungary, and Serbia are working together on the Equinet training on how to build a case on equal pay which will be delivered to Equinet members this year.
  • This Working Group meeting was the last meeting moderated by Theresa Hammer, and co-moderator Nathalie Schlenzka will continue the work of the group with Theresa’s replacement.
Equinet contact person: Katrine Steinfeld, Policy Officer – Tel: 0032 2 212 31 85

Working Group Policy Formation

  • The last meeting was held on 1st March in Brussels, Belgium.
  • It focused on the preparation of the Factsheet on equality bodies contributing to the European Commission List of Actions. Following the meeting, a questionnaire was sent to all Equinet members in order to gather relevant good practices in the field of LGBTI equality.
  • Members also discussed the upcoming Equinet conference on the inclusion of migrants
Equinet contact person: Jessica Machacova, Membership & Policy Officer – Tel: 0032 2 212 31 80

Cooperation Platforms involving Equinet - Council of Europe - ENNHRI - European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)


Cooperation Platform on Advancing Social and Economic Rights

  • The Cooperation Platform was hosted by the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, where platform members discussed the relationship between the European Pillar of Social Rights and the European Social Charter with a representative of the European Commission.
  • Platform members contributed to the public consultation on the Pillar and shared their views, including the concerns that the Pillar consistently address equality groups and see social investment as a long-term investment and not a cost. Platform members wished to see the Pillar fully integrated with relevant equality and human rights instruments at European and International level, including the European Social Charter (please see the Council of Europe’s opinion for more information). The summary of the European Commission’s public consultation showed that the concerns voiced by citizens in the fields covered by the proposed Pillar overlap with the concerns of the Platform members.
  • Platform members were informed of the conclusions of the European Committee of Social Rights in its 2016 report, received updates on the Turin process under which the Council of Europe has organized several events, and were informed by the Danish members of the use of indicators in monitoring social and economic rights in conjunction with the upcoming monitoring obligations under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Belgian members and FRA shared their experience in data collection and research on social and economic inequalities, and the Council of Europe informed of the role of national equality bodies and national human rights institutions before the European Committee of Social Rights. A Belgian NGO informed of their collective complaint before the Committee.
For more information, please visit the Platform website.  
Equinet contact person: Katrine Steinfeld, Policy Officer – Tel: 0032 2 212 31 85


 Save the date
Next Equinet Meetings 


  • 3: Strategic Meeting on Standards (on invitation) (Brussels, Belgium)
  • 4: Conference - Positive Duties (Brussels, Belgium)

  • 10: Conference and celebrations – Equinet 10th anniversary (Brussels, Belgium)
  • 11: Annual General Meeting and Board Elections (Brussels, Belgium)
Equinet Members
If you need the feedback of Equinet members on specific questions, or if you would like to share updates with them regarding your work, please contact Jessica Machacova, Equinet Membership and Policy Officer (
Updates from Equinet Members

Romania - National Council for Combating Discrimination (CNCD)

Senate rejects draft bill aiming to repeal anti-discrimination law and disable the equality body

On 28 February 2017, a bill aiming to repeal Romanian Anti-discrimination Law was tacitly adopted by the Romanian Chamber of Deputies. If this bill had been adopted, it would seriously have affected the National Council for Combatting Discrimination (CNCD). However, on 14 March, the Senate decided not to accept the draft law.

More information is available here

Slovenia - Advocate of the Principle of Equality

On the road to become independent and effective equality body

In 2016, a new Protection from Discrimination Act entered into force in Slovenia, thus resulting in the Advocate of the Principle of Equality developing into an autonomous state body. This recent evolution brings about the potential to improve and increase the protection of persons at risk of discrimination in Slovenia, together with the opportunity to create a truly independent and effective equality body.

However, in light of the previous chronic lack of funding, these legislative changes need to be accompanied by a guarantee of adequate additional human and financial resources in order to seize this opportunity and enable the Advocate of the Principle of Equality to fulfill its full potential.

Belgium - Unia (Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities)

Car rental & Age Discrimination

Unia received a complaint about a private car rental company.

The company refused to rent a car to a person because of his age. He is 70 years old, and their policy is to refuse persons older than 65.

Unia contacted the company, reminding them of the Belgian antidiscrimination law, that prohibits age discrimination in goods and services unless there are a legitimate purpose and proportionate and necessary measures.

The company claims that persons older than 65 often don’t have a car of their own, participates only occasionally in traffic and that they cause more damage. They base their decision upon bad experiences in the past.
They offer to accept drivers older than 65 years, but without insurance. Those clients would then have to pay themselves all damage that might occur while using the rental car, while younger drivers benefit from the company’s insurance.
These arguments and new offer were not accepted by Unia. Indeed, the official statistics do not confirm the claim that drivers above 65 years old cause more damage.
Nor is it objectively proven that those persons don’t own a car of their own, neither that they only rarely participate in traffic. This could as well be the case for younger persons, who would nevertheless have access to the car rental services.
The company accepts this argument and decided to abolish the age limit. Unia is planning to contact the federation of car rental companies, as it is known that this age limit is of common use.
For more information, please contact

Equinet members' new publications

France - Defender of Rights

Report: 10th barometer on the perception of discrimination in employment

For its 10th edition, the Barometer on the perception of discrimination in employment by the French Defender of Rights and the International Labour Organization (ILO) has returned to a general picture of representations and experiences of discrimination in the workplace. At the same time, it develops an intersectional approach to show the heterogeneity of inequalities according to social groups.

Serbia - Commissioner for Protection of Equality

Report: Exclusion and segregation of children with disabilities in residential institutions in the education system

The report was produced in cooperation with  Mental Disability Rights Initiative of Serbia (MDRI-Serbia). More information is available here
Copyright © 2017 Equinet, European Network of Equality Bodies, All rights reserved.

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