Equinet Newsbook - February 2017

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Call for proposals: Research for New Equinet Paper

Equality bodies:  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 there can be found possible correlative relationships between them.

Submission deadline: 2 May 2017 (09:00 AM). Read more here...

New Discussion Paper on Race and Ethnicity

Race and ethnic origin: In our latest discussion paper, Equinet’s Working Group on Equality Law discuss key legal issues and challenges, available tools and good practices in fighting discrimination on the ground of race and ethnic origin. One of the main findings in the paper is that equality bodies are valuable actors in fighting discrimination on the ground of race and ethnic origin if they are independent, adequately resourced and empowered to do so. Read more here...

Summaries available for Equinet Events

Gender equality:  Equinet Seminar - Gender equality in education, Prague, 19-20 May 2016. Summary available here...

Intersectionality:  Equinet Conference - Diverse, Inclusive and Equal: Innovating at the Intersections of Gender Equality, Brussels, 7 December 2016. Summary available here...

Members' News

Denmark: Prohibition of discrimination on the ground of disability outside employment 

Disability: On February 9 the Danish Government announced that they will introduce a general prohibition of discrimination on the ground of disability. "It’s fantastic news. Together with the Danish disability organizations we have worked for a ban for many years. This means that people with disabilities will now be able to demand to be treated properly," says Maria Ventegodt Liisberg, Department Director for Equal Treatment at the Danish Institute for Human Rights.  Read more...

Germany: Teacher with headscarf awarded compensation

Religion and belief: A court in Berlin awarded a teacher with headscarf, who was prevented from teaching at a primary school, 8680 € compensation. The court ruled in favour of the applicant, a German national born in Berlin, arguing that the opposing party failed to demonstrate how wearing a headscarf would disturb the peace in school. The ruling challenges the rule of secularism applied in Berlin, which strictly separates religion and public institutions.  Read more...

Belgium: Awareness raising brochure on reasonable accommodation in the workplace

Disability: Unia (Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities) has published an awareness raising brochure on reasonable accommodation in the workplace. This tool targets persons with disabilities but also, employers, trade unions and other related stakeholders. The brochure is available in French, German and Dutch.  More information in English about the work of Unia on disability is available here

England: New guidance to help universities prevent extremism

Prevent Duty: The EHRC has published a guide to help universities in England use their equality and human rights duties to deliver their Prevent duty in a proportional and fair way.  The Prevent duty has been in place since 2015. It requires that public authorities such as universities put systems in place to identify, challenge and address extremism in order to help prevent vulnerable staff and students from being drawn into terrorism. Read more...

European News

ECRI Reports highlight the importance of strong and independent equality bodies

Racism and Ethnic Origin:
On 28 February, ECRI released new reports on combatting racism and intolerance in Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland and Luxembourg. It also released the conclusions on the implementation of priority recommendations in respect of Belgium and Germany. Read more...

The reports highlight the importance of strong and independent equality bodies in order for victims to receive the appropriate support when necessary. This could affect the work of our members in particular!
  • In Luxembourg, ECRI calls for more powers and independence for the Centre for Equal Treatment. For example: the right to hear and consider complaints, to conduct effective investigations, to initiate legal proceedings and to participate in judicial and administrative proceedings.  
  • In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the capacity of the Ombudsman Institution should be strengthened, in particular its decision-making processes streamlined, funds and human resources increased, and full financial independence from the government as well as better compliance with the Ombudsman Institution’s recommendations ensured.
  • In Belgium, ECRI is pleased that its recommendation was followed and that Unia (Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities) is now a fully independent inter-federal institution dedicated to helping all victims of discrimination.
Equinet is happy to see the importance of equality bodies underlined and reiterates its call to develop standards for equality bodies.

New European Handbook on Equality Data

Equality data: 
The new European handbook on equality data promotes equality and contributes to fight against discrimination in the EU by analysing why and what kind of data should be collected in relation to equality and discrimination. Equality data refers to anonymous data in relation to equality and discrimination collected for statistical and evidence purposes and excluding the identification of natural persons concerned. Such data contributes to the fight against discrimination and promotes equality by providing evidence of existing discrimination, making it transparent and quantifying it. Read more...

Europe taking a stand to combat violence against women!

Violence against women: 2017 has been designated by the European Commission as the year dedicated to combating violence against women. Many equality bodies will be on the forefront of this work, carrying out projects aimed at developing and implementing practical and targeted information to combat violence against women, as well as awareness-raising and education activities. Read more...

Draft report on equality between women and men in the European Union in 2014-2015 adopted

Gender equality: On the 6th of February the European Parliament's Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality adopted a draft report on equality between women and men, discussing equal economic independence, equal pay for work of equal value, equality in decision-making, gender-based violence, gender equality in external action and cross-cutting issues. The report stresses that faster progress is needed if the EU is to meet its gender equality targets of Europe 2020.  Read more...

European Parliament demands action on EU-wide recognition of adoptions

Sexual Orientation: 
On 2 February, the European Parliament adopted a report demanding the automatic recognition of domestic adoption orders across EU Member States. The report stipulates that the recognition should happen without discrimination, including on the basis of the parents’ sexual orientation.  Read more...

Commissioner Muižnieks: Access to same-sex partnerships is a question of equality

Sexual Orientation: Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks recently published a Human Rights Comment on registered same-sex partnerships. "The trend toward legal recognition of same-sex couples is responding to the daily reality and needs of relationships that have gone unrecognised for a very long time. Our societies are made up of a rich diversity of individuals, relationships and families. It’s time we see this as an asset." says Commissioner Muižnieks. Read more...

The Grand Chamber gives opinion on Access to Published Works for Persons with Disabilities

Disability: On August 11 2015, the European Commission asked the CJEU to give an opinion on the following question: “Does the European Union have exclusive competence to conclude the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled?”
On the 14 February 2017, the Court found that the body of obligations laid down by the Marrakesh Treaty falls within an area that is already covered to a large extent by common EU rules. The conclusion of that treaty may thus affect those rules or alter their scope. The Court concluded that the Marrakesh Treaty falls within the exclusive competence of the European Union. The opinion is accessible here...


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