Welcome to quarterly update on the work of European equality bodies, sent by Equinet - the European Network of Equality Bodies
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Equinet, the European Network of Equality Bodies, brings together 42 organizations from 32 European countries, which are empowered to counteract discrimination as national equality bodies across the range of grounds including age, disability, gender, race or ethnic origin, religion or belief, and sexual orientation.
Albania: Commissioner for the Protection from Discrimination
Introducing the newest member of the Equinet network, which joined at the end of 2014: The Commissioner provides qualified assistance to victims of discrimination through the training of different stakeholders; awareness raising; and gives legislative recommendations. The training activities, given to staff of the CPD, NGOs, judges, police staff and civil servants, have resulted in increasing the number of complaints at the CPD and providing strategic decisions of discrimination. Website and 2014 Activity Report (in Albanian).  
Belgium: Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities
(formerly Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism)
Since 2011, the Centre has been the independent mechanism for promoting, protecting and monitoring the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Belgium (Article 33.2). On 2 April, they participated in a meeting of the UN Committee on the Rights of People with Disabilities to present a list of issues relating to the European Union’s implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This list includes:  the composition of the European independent mechanism (Art. 33.2); the absence of a European anti-discrimination directive on goods and services; provision of assistance for rail passengers subject to 48 hours notification (Regulation 1371/2007); the problem of interpretation of Regulation 1107/2006 on the rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility when travelling by air. 
Germany: Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency
Focuses on gender equality in 2015, in particular sexual harassment in the workplace. Along with a survey, conferences and comprehensive brochures on this issue, they have appointed an expert commission to develop recommendations for action on: sexual harassment at the workplace, equal pay for women especially in precarious or casual employment; rights of trans* and intersex people at the workplace. Furthermore, they promote equal pay by certifying public and private companies that undergo an examination on unequal pay with the program (developed to uncover unequal payment in different sectors such as job evaluation). Additionally, they have a range of public relations activities: the appointment of prominent ambassadors, a “day of action” in September and “salon” nights with different topics on gender equality. 
Ireland: Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission
(formerly Equality Authority)
In advance of the upcoming referendum on marriage equality (due to be held on 22 May 2015), the IHREC has published a policy statement on access to civil marriage that insists that the opening out of civil marriage to two persons, without distinction as to their sex, is a matter of equality and human rights. They consider that the current Constitutional position relating to marriage does not provide full recognition and equality of status for same-sex couples in a way that would underpin wider equality for people within Irish society.
Norway: Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud
According to a new study published by the Ombud, nearly 50% of Norwegian working mothers and 22% of Norwegian working fathers reported discrimination on the grounds of pregnancy and/or parental leave. The report shows how widespread this type of discrimination is in the workplace and urges employers to take action to promote reconciliation of work and family life and work-life balance. 
UK Great Britain: Equality and Human Rights Commission 
In 2014, the EHRC gathered evidence on religion or belief in the workplace and service delivery to explore the direct and personal experiences of employees and service users concerning religion or belief. The responses of the 2,483 interviewees show that there is widespread confusion over the laws protecting religion or belief in the UK
The new Business Plan for 2015/16 focuses on: the state of access to civil justice, pay gaps in relation to gender, race and disability as well as assessing how attitudes and values relate to unlawful discrimination, harassment and identity-based violence
Denmark: Danish Institute for Human Rights 
Together with the Danish National Centre for Social Research, the Institute is working to identify a set of 10 gold statistical outcome indicators to measure the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in Denmark and give an overview of the overall level of enjoyment of human rights of persons with disabilities. 
The Institute’s 2014 annual report to the Danish parliament offers an overview of the most important improvements and setbacks for human rights in Denmark. 
Czech Republic: Public Defender of Rights
In October 2014, the Public Defender held an international conference on Work-life Balance, which represented the culmination of the Defender’s  awareness-raising and educational activities concerning this Europe-wide issue. Part of the project ’Together towards Good Governance’, the resulting summary of the conference includes a collection of contributions presented by Czech and international experts (including an article by the Equinet Secretariat and other Equinet members), with a particular focus on equal treatment and non-discrimination.
Hungary: Equal Treatment Authority
Supports a public education programme on the detection and prevention of discrimination. So far, the programme has trained 200 teachers on how to use multimedia, developed with the input of children through competitions, in order to promote widespread aspirations of equality amongst school children.
Italy: National Office against Racial Discrimination
In advance of the Action Week on Racism held in March 2015, UNAR invited Italian municipalities to join a national campaign to Turn off your mind, turn off your prejudices, an initiative to create opportunities for intercultural dialogue, reflection and awareness, helping to overcome the stereotypes related to race and ethnicity. 
Portugal: Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality
In 2014, the CIG ran the campaign Never too late (Nunca é tarde), which aimed to raise awareness on domestic violence against elderly women
In February 2015 they launched an awareness campaign against dating violence that has included sports and television personalities. At the same time, another long-term action was launched focusing on preventing dating violence amongst young people.
Annual Reports
  • Croatia - Ombudsperson for Gender Equality: Activity Report for 2014 summarises the work done in the area of promoting gender mainstreaming and trends related to discrimination on the basis of sex, marital and family status, sexual orientation and gender identity in the areas of labor and employment, family (including domestic violence), education, political participation and media.
  • Greece – Greek Ombudsman: The 2014 Annual Report highlights the need to upgrade the administrative system, which seems to be a weakness identified on all sides. The citizen’s relationship with the state should be the main focus of this upgrade, so that vulnerable and marginalized groups are priorities and not subject to political choices. 
  • Luxembourg - Centre for Equal Treatment (CET): The 2014 Report gives a wide range of statistics regarding the cases that the Centre dealt with throughout the year, as well as following up on recommendations from previous years and proposing new recommendations based on their work throughout the year. 
  • Netherlands - The Netherlands Institute for Human Rights: Core themes that featured on the 2014 agenda were elderly people and human rights, migration and human rights, and discrimination in employment. The Institute also worked on increasing the awareness of rights through trainings aimed at schools, as well as social media campaigns featuring provoking statements, such as “women are allowed to wear a headscarf at work” and informing viewers of the human rights standards on such issues.
  • Serbia - Commissioner for Protection of Equality: The Annual Report 2014, recently submitted to the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, contains a description of the state of realization and protection of equality, information on the most common forms of discrimination, victims of discrimination and discriminatory fields. It also evaluates the work of public authorities, service providers and other persons identifying deficiencies and provides recommendations for their elimination.
  • UK Northern Ireland - Equality Commission for Northern Ireland: As part of its 2012-2015 Corporate Plan, ECNI has focused its strategic priorities on addressing key inequalities; extending equality practices in the workplace and goods, facilities and services; challenging discrimination; and delivering effective and efficient services. In the period 2013 – 2014 (until 31 March), of 19 objectives set, they fully met 17 and partly met 2.
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