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= Front-page

EU Fundamental Rights Agency calls for minimum standards for the work of equality bodies 

The Agency's Annual Report for 2013 mapped out the fundamental rights challenges and achievements that took place over the course of the year. The report also outlines practical suggestions about how to ensure people living in the EU can have their rights better protected.

Among these, the report argues that "the EU could establish or promote [...] minimum stand­ards for the independence and effectiveness of other bodies with a human rights remit, in particular those required under EU law, such as equality bodies or data protection authorities. Current EU legislation does not provide clear standards [...]" (p 15).

Access the full report at
http://goo.gl/qzZ7Ud.

European Parliament publishes note on discrimination of migrant workers at the workplace 

The note discusses the legal framework protecting migrant workers against discrimination. It presents a summary of the impact of the economic crisis on migrant employment. It takes a closer look at the types of discrimination foreign-born workers may face in the workplace before summarising current opinion as to whether action is warranted to prevent migrant employment discrimination in the EU, and providing some best-practice examples.

This note is particularly relevant for equality bodies in the context of Directive 2014/54/EU facilitating the exercise of freedom of movement for workers adopted this spring. The Directive introduces a requirement for all Member States to designate specific structures for safeguarding freedom of movement and it is likely that in some countries equality bodies might receive this task.

Access the note at http://goo.gl/UiDP6c.

= Our work

Using values to create a more equal & accepting Europe
 
Behind the all-important social indicators – from public attitudes towards immigration to incidence of hate crimes – is the question of why. Why do people hold such attitudes, or behave in such ways? Research has revealed a consistent and often overlooked factor in answering this question: our values.
 

A new report from the Public Interest Research Centre (PIRC), commissioned by Equinet, found that when people value community, social justice and freedom, they tend to be less discriminatory.

Across Europe the research shows a positive picture: people view these values as most important. So why are people still not treated equally? Because patterns of prejudice and inequality in Europe are linked to the weight people place on these values compared with others. From attitudes towards minorities in leadership positions to the rate at which people report discrimination, the influence of values is clear and consistent.

These values are not static; they can be engaged and strengthened. European equality bodies and other organisations can actively work to bring to the fore the sense of respect and care for others that every person already holds within them.


Continue reading and download the report at http://goo.gl/ApwQUK
Equality Bodies Promoting a Better Work-Life Balance for All
 
Reconciliation of work and family life and work-life balance are issues of concern to many equality bodies and have been a focus for important initiatives by a number of equality bodies.

However, it is clear that a large number of equality bodies have not seen these as priority issues on which to concentrate any significant amount of resources. In part this is due to a lack of resources, in part it could be due to identifying these issues as lying beyond a mandate that is focused on combating discrimination.

Reconciliation of work and family life, however, lies at the heart of any ambition for gender equality. The purpose of this perspective is, therefore, to support equality bodies to take up work on these issues, to further develop their work on these issues, and to deepen their contribution to combating discrimination, to gender equality and to equality on a range of other grounds through peer learning on progress made by equality bodies in different jurisdictions on these issues. It will also enable and shape Equinet’s contribution to supporting the work of equality bodies on these issues and to contributing the learning from this work to policy formation as appropriate.


To download, order, and read more about our report, visit the page at http://goo.gl/LMpOYk
Equality Bodies supporting Reasonable Accommodation for People with Disabilities
 
Significant social and legislative progress has been achieved in Europe over the years and equality bodies have played and continue to play an active role in the advancement of diversity in the workplace and services. Their work, often in collaboration with employers, service providers and other actors in the field is key to making diversity in the workplace and in service provision a reality.

In this context Equinet has launched a paper to provide equality bodies with a good practice guide in making reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities by employers and service providers and to offer practical help and guidance to put the concepts of diversity and equality policies through reasonable accommodation measures into practice. This guide is designed for national equality bodies to inspire and help build further knowledge and a greater understanding of instruments and approaches available to promote the concept of reasonable accommodation to employers and service providers.

To download and read more about our guide, visit the page at http://goo.gl/K8uVwm
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Key insights from Equinet's training event on LGBTI issues are now online

On 17-18 June 2014 in Stockholm, Equinet, with the support and hosting of the Swedish Equality Ombudsman, organised a training event on LGBTI issues.

The contributions, available on the webpage of the event (http://goo.gl/tS1s65) included a presentation on "the context for LGBTI equality in Europe", from Juan Gonzalez-Mellizo (DG Justice, European Commission); "making recommendations to legislators and policy-makers and influencing policy on LGBTI issues" from Jussi Aaltonen (Ombudsman for Equality, Finland); "addressing under-reporting. Results and lessons from the FRA’s LGBT survey" from Dennis van der Veur (EU Agency for Fundamental Rights); "research to understand the barriers in seeking access to justice" from Deirdre Toomey (Equality Authority, Ireland).

= Snippets

  • The European Commission (EC) launched a Public Consultation on the Europe 2020 strategy, available at http://goo.gl/9KEVGl
  • The EC published its first report on how the EU is giving effect to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). This Convention is the first international legally binding instrument setting minimum standards for a range of civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights for people with disabilities around the world. It is also the first comprehensive human rights convention to which the EU has become a party. The report will be scrutinized by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Read more at http://goo.gl/8F7rdy.
  • The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) held that the French ban on the wearing in public of clothing designed to conceal one’s face does not breach the Convention. The case concerned the complaint of a French national, who is a practising Muslim, that she is no longer allowed to wear the full-face veil in public following the entry into force, on 11 April 2011, of a law prohibiting the concealment of one’s face in public places (Law no. 2010-1192 of 11 October 2010). The Court emphasised that respect for the conditions of “living together” was a legitimate aim for the measure at issue and that, particularly as the State had a lot of room for manoeuvre (“a wide margin of appreciation”) as regards this general policy question on which there were significant differences of opinion, the ban imposed by the Law of 11 October 2010 did not breach the Convention. More information is available at http://goo.gl/diQnXi
  • The ECHR launched six new factsheets on its case-law concerning the following themes: elderly people, persons with disabilities, political parties and associations, hunger strikes in detention, migrants in detention, and domestic violence. They are accessible at http://goo.gl/COMiPA
  • The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) launched a Call for Expression of Interest for Seconded National Experts, seeking a legal expert in the area of equality and non-discrimination. More details are available at http://goo.gl/o3XNWQ
  • EIGE’s report on Institutional Mechanisms for Gender Equality shows that national structures that are specifically focused on gender equality are getting marginalised. The report states that the number is now down by more than half to before the economic crises, and that the lack of institutional resources can seriously hamper the advancement in the area of gender equality. Read more at http://goo.gl/TTb7Gu
  • The Council of Europe’s European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) published its annual report, calling for timely action against extremist organisations that promote racism to avoid an escalation of violence and related criminal activities. In its report, ECRI outlined the main trends in the fields of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance in Europe in 2013. The report is accessible at http://goo.gl/hYSIWv.
  • The International Labour Organisation published a report on Maternity and paternity at work: Law and practice across the world, reviewing national law and practice on both maternity and paternity at work in 185 countries and territories including leave, benefits, employment protection, health protection, breastfeeding arrangements at work and childcare (http://goo.gl/1cgvL6).
  • The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) published a report entitled "LGBTI Rights before the European Court of Human Rights: One Step at a Time", examining key cases from the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), concerning breaches of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons, and how these cases have influenced the development of legislation in Council of Europe Member States (access it at http://goo.gl/XbehVn)
  • Rights on the move – Rainbow families in Europe is a two-day international conference closing the research project with the same name, an action co-funded by the European Union Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Programme. Rights on the move looks at European legal obstacles and solutions for rainbow families, i.e. families where the couple and the parental roles involve non-heterosexual, trans or intersex persons moving and residing within the EU. The deadline for early-bird registrations for the conference is 31 July. More information can be found at http://goo.gl/FmJcMh.
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