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Equinet Newsbook - March 2016

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Equinet News

Solidarity in the wake of Brussels attacks

Equinet is profoundly shocked by the cowardly and undiscriminating attacks that hit Brussels this week. We offer our sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims. 
As expressed by our Belgian member Unia (Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities), the sorrow which we all feel must not give place to hatred. Fear must not win and division is not an option. Our values are stronger than fanatacism.
More than ever, Belgium and Europe need solidarity.

Equinet meets with European policy makers


One of our strategive objectives is to contribute to the European equality agenda. Since the beginning of the year, Equinet Chair Evelyn Collins (Equality Commission for Northern Ireland), together with members of the Equinet Secretariat, has met with European policy makers in order to highlight our 2016 workplan, to communicate the learning from the work of equality bodies on different topics and shed light on their particular relevance to specific policies and activities being planned or pursued at European level.  Read more...

Call for Proposals: An Equinet Paper on Positive Duties

Equinet is commissioning a research paper on positive and equality duties in Europe today. Positive duties go beyond the positive action defined in the EU Equal Treatment Directives, and the research will seek to map out current practices and measures implemented. Submission deadline: 10 April 2016. Read more...


Call for Social Media Expert

Do you hold the key to social media saviness for equality bodies? Interested in helping the staff of equality bodies fight discrimination through better social media use? Answer our call for trainers to develop a training module on improved social media use for equality body communication experts!
Submission deadline: 8 May 2016. Read more...


Equinet Events in April

On 4-5 April, the Austrian Disability Ombudsman will host Equinet members in Vienna at a capacity-building seminar on Accessibility and Reasonable Accommodation.  Read more..

On 20 April, Equinet and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (UK) are co-organising a roundtable meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels, which will be hosted by the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D). It will gather Members of the European Parliament and representatives of national equality bodies to address the issues of work-life balance, pregnancy and parenthood related discrimination at national and EU levels. Read more...

Members News

European Action Week against Racism


Race/Ethnic Origin: European Action Week against Racism took place from 12-21 March this year in the lead up to the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Considering the proliferation of racism against migrants and refugees at the moment, we ran a campaign to highlight initiatives carried out by Equinet members to fight racism across Europe. As of 14 March, Equinet issued one article per day presenting some of its members’ work on anti-discrimination. Read more... 

Norway's Ombud for Equal Treatment visits Brussels


New Ombud: The new Norwegian Ombud for Equal Treatment, Hanne Bjurstrøm, was in Brussels this month to meet with important partners at EU level. She was accompanied by the Deputy Ombud and Equinet Board member Elisabeth Lier Haugseth. Equinet was very pleased to have the opportunity to meet the new Ombud and accompany her throughout the day. Read more...

Poland: Regulation of the amendment to the Constitutional Tribunal Act deemed unconstitutional


Better Legislation: The Constitutional Tribunal has passed judgment on the December amendment to the Constitutional Tribunal Act. Application in this matter was lodged among others by the Commissioner for Human Rights. The Tribunal held that the Act is wholly incompliant with the principles of better legislation. Read more (in Polish)...
While bringing the matter before the Tribunal, Commissioner Adam Bodnar stated among others that "a fully independent and efficient Constitutional Tribunal guarantees the existence of the real rights and freedoms of citizens in Poland". Read speech...

UK: EHRC report reveals hundreds dying in detention

 
Disability: The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has published a progress report on "Preventing Deaths in Detention of Adults with Mental Health Conditions". This is a follow-up report to the EHRC’s 2015 inquiry into non-natural deaths of adults with mental health conditions who were detained in prisons, police custody or psychiatric hospitals between 2010-13 in Great Britain. The EHRC inquiry found that serious mistakes were contributing to the number of deaths, and developed a series of recommendations for the various organisations involved. Read more...

Austria: Marking 10 years of anti-discrimination for people with disabilities

 
Disability: On 14 and 15 January 2016, the Austrian Disability Ombudsman, Erwin Buchinger, and his Office were amongst the hosts of an expert meeting on key equality issues for persons with disabilities. This event took place on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Austrian Disability Ombudsman under the Federal Disability Act. The Act entered into force on 1 January 2006. Read more...

EU News

Focus Issue: International Women's Day

 
Gender: International Women’s Day is celebrated on 8 March every year -  a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities. Equinet gathered publications and material issued on gender equality at European and national level to celebrate the occasion.  Read more...

A summary of European institutions' news on gender includes:

European Commission


Social Rights: The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the European Pillar of Social Rights. The consultation will feed into the final text of the Pillar. The aim of the European Pillar of Social Rights is to set out a number of essential principles to support well-functioning and fair labour markets and welfare systems, to adequately protect European citizens against risks and to enable them to fully participate in society. Deadline: 31/12/2016 Read more...

Action Grants - Gender: Daphne call to support national or transnational projects on multi-agency and multi-disciplinary cooperation to respond to violence against women and/or children, and on tackling underreporting. Deadline: 01/06/2016.   Read more...

Council of Europe

 
Gender / Roma: Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers approved the new thematic action plan to promote innovative programmes to empower Roma and Traveller women and girls and protect the most vulnerable groups. The plan (2016-2019) will include awareness raising activities at a local level to help curb early or forced marriages, domestic violence, trafficking and forced begging in Roma communities by addressing negative consequences of such activities. It will foster school attendance and help prevent early school-leaving and absenteeism, particularly of girls. Read more...
 

European Commission against Racism and Intolerance 

 
Hate Speech: The Council of Europe's European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) has published guidelines to all 47 member States of the Council of Europe on how to prevent hate speech, support those targeted by it, and deal with its consequences. Recommendations include: encouraging speedy reactions by public figures to hate speech, promoting self-regulation of media, raising awareness of the dangerous consequences of hate speech, withdrawing financial and other support from political parties that actively use hate speech and criminalising its most extreme manifestations, while respecting freedom of expression. Read more...

European Court of Human Rights

 
Positive Obligations: In the case of  M. G. C. v. ROMANIA (application no. 61495/11) the ECtHR concluded that there was a violation of the respondent State’s positive obligations under both Articles 3 (Prohibition of torture) and 8 of the Convention (Right to respect for private and family life). The Court found that the investigation of the applicant’s case and, in particular, the approach taken by the national courts, in the context of a lack of a consistent national practice in the field, fell short of the requirements inherent in the States’ positive obligations to apply effectively a criminal-law system punishing all forms of rape and sexual abuse against children. Read more...

Gender:  In the case of Civek v. Turkey (application no. 55354/11), the ECtHR found a violation of Article 2 (right to life) following the authorities’ failure to react to prevent the murder of the applicants’ mother despite knowing that she was under a genuine and serious threat. Since the ECtHR found a violation of Article 2, it refused to adjudicate on Article 14 (non-discrimination), despite the latter being referred to by the applicants. Read more...

Freedom of movement / socio-economic status:  In the case of Garib v. the Netherlands  (application no. 43494/09), the ECtHR did not find any violation of Article 2 of Protocol No. 4 (freedom of movement / freedom to choose one’s residence) and did not analyse the aspect of discrimination on the basis of social origin or socio-economic status. The case concerned the complaint by a woman living on social welfare about residential restrictions in a district of Rotterdam as a result of which she was unable to freely choose her place of residence. Read more...

European Court of Justice

 
Subsidiary Protection / Freedom of Movement: In the joined cases Kreis Warendorf v Ibrahim Alo and Amira Osso v Region Hannover (C-443/14 and C-444/14), the ECJ found that “the Directive (on standards for the qualification of third-country nationals or stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection) requires the Member States to allow persons to whom they have granted subsidiary protection status not only to move freely within their territory but also to choose their place of residence within that territory.” Read more...

Freedom of Movement / Social benefits:  In the case Vestische Arbeit Jobcenter Kreis Recklinghausen v Jovanna García-Nieto and Others (Case C-299/14), the ECJ confirms that nationals of other Member States may be refused certain social benefits in their first three months of residence and that this does not presuppose an individual assessment. Read more...

European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights

 
Gender Identity: FRA has published a report entitled ‘Professionally speaking: challenges to achieving equality for LGBT people’. This reveals how wrong and outdated views towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people could endanger their fundamental rights. The report advises that the "EU Member States should ensure that competent public authorities, such as equality bodies, national human rights institutions and children’s ombudspersons, are properly mandated, resourced and encouraged to deal with bullying and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and/or gender identity in education." Read more...

European Network against Racism

Racism: Black people experience widespread racism and discrimination across the EU and in all areas of life, including employment, education, policing and the criminal justice system. This is the conclusion of the European Network Against Racism’s Shadow Report on Afrophobia in Europe, the first pan-European qualitative survey on people of African descent and Black Europeans. Read more...
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Equinet is co-funded by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme of the European Union (2014-2020).