Equinet promotes equality in Europe through supporting and enabling the work of national equality bodies. It supports equality bodies to be independent and effective as valuable catalysts for more equal societies. 

Equinet Newsbook

April 2015

Equinet News

On 23 March, Equinet organized a Conference entitled Taking Action for Gender Equality. The main objective of the Conference was to share equality bodies' experiences on tackling gender discrimination and to present Equinet’s draft Perspective on Gender Equality. You can read the summary of the Conference, access presentations and see the pictures here.

European Commission

European Parliament

  • The impact of the crisis on fundamental rights across Member States of the EU, a comparative study published upon the request of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee, offers an overview of impacts that the economic crisis and austerity measures have on the fundamental rights of individuals in seven Member States: Belgium, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Spain and Portugal. 
  • In March 2015, the European Parliament adopted its Annual report on human rights and democracy in the world. This addresses topics such as the death penalty, business, freedom of expression and religion and rights of LGBTI people. It makes recommendations to the European institutions, EU Members States, international institutions and Member States to improve and better protect human rights. 

Council of Europe


Legal Focus

  • A German top court ruled that female Muslim teachers in Germany may wear head scarves in schools as long as it does not cause concrete disruption. With this ruling the initial ban on head scarves that was in force by the ruling of the constitutional court in 2003 was reversed. Read more in English (The Guardian) and in German (German equality body, Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency).
  • Malta has adopted a ground-breaking law on Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sexual Characteristics (GIGESC Act) that fully protects the rights of trans and intersex persons.


Read previous Newsletters here.

Equinet Study 
The Sanctions Regime in Discrimination and its Effects

Equinet is commissioning a study on the sanctions applied in discrimination cases in Europe and their effects. The study will examine and compare relevant sources of EU and international law and their provisions on sanctions and remedies. This will be complemented by an analysis of trends and good practices in leading case law from international, EU and national courts and national equality bodies.
Terms of Reference are available here. 
Deadline: 17 April 2015

EC consultation with stakeholders for Colloquium on Fundamental Rights

European Commission calls for input to its first Annual Colloquium on fundamental rights in the EU, entitled Tolerance and respect: preventing and combating anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim hatred in Europe.
Commissioners Timmermans and Jourová will host the Colloquium on 1-2 October 2015 in Brussels.
The Commission is currently collecting input from stakeholders to answers questions, which will be at the centre of discussions during the Colloquium.
Deadline: 15 May 2015



Meeting of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The EC report on the implementation of the UN Convention of the Rights of people with disabilities has been followed up by a meeting of the UN Committee with civil society organisations to get their input on how the European Union implements the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. European Disability Forum presented the findings of their ‘Alternative Report’, while the Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities brought a list of issues relating to the European Union report based on the Belgian (and other equality bodies’) experience.
Right to decide: Call to eliminate guardianship regimes for people with disabilities

Inclusion Europe calls on the institutions of the European Union to eliminate the guardianship regimes for people with disabilities and to put in force legal provisions for carrying out the right of people with disabilities to make decisions. In this respect they have developed a webpage dedicated to presenting different models of supported decision-making for people with disabilities.
FRA on hate crime and people with disabilities

EU Agency for Fundamental Rights has published the report Equal protection for all victims of hate crime - The case of people with disabilities which highlights the problem of greater exposure to violence for people with disabilities. The ground of disability is not included in EU’s hate crime legislation.

Equinet Perspective to support the EU Disability Strategy Review

Available in English and French, Realising Rights: Equality Bodies and People with Disabilities seeks to contribute to the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 review and to the renewal of the list of actions for the last five years of the Strategy.
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