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The 2017 Report on the application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights highlights that while 2017 was a year of challenges for fundamental rights, the structures and tools in place to make sure the rights of the Charter are a reality have been functioning. Further support to the respect and promotion of fundamental rights, the rule of law and democracy, including the support for a free and vibrant civil society, will remain central in 2018.

 

On 6 June, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) published its Fundamental Rights Report 2018. This year the Report explores how a rights-based approach towards respect for older people is starting to happen.

 

This is the fifth annual report on the state of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Europe by Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe. The five chapters look at the key building blocks of democratic security: efficient, impartial and independent judiciaries; freedom of expression; freedom of assembly and freedom of association; democratic institutions; and inclusive societies.

 

Each year on 17 May, the international community celebrates the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT). While it is a day of celebration of the vast diversity of people’s sexualities, gender identities and sex characteristics, and of the legal and social advances concerning lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people in the past two decades, it is also a day to raise awareness on existing widespread discrimination and violence in many countries. As in previous years, this article explains the importance of IDAHOT, the highlights of this day and the contribution of equality bodies to the advancement of equality and non-discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity to date.

 

The 2018 Rainbow Europe package, launched by ILGA-Europe on 14 May, provides real evidence that progress on LGBTI equality law and policy is slowing down in Europe.

 

The European disability community celebrates the annual Independent Living Day on 5th May.

 

In a report adopted on 17 April 2018, the European Parliament calls for further measures to foster gender equality, including equality for LGBTI people, in media content and in the media sector.

 

The Commission Action Plan to tackle the gender pay gap in 2018-2019 adopted on 20 November 2017 announced that the Commission would assess the possibility of strengthening the enforcement role of equality bodies, for instance by clarifying the requirements under the gender Recast Directive and/or setting horizontal standards for equality bodies. The initiative also follows-up on the European Pillar of Social Rights notably its principles two, three and seventeen on gender equality, equal opportunities and inclusion of people with disabilities. More broadly, this initiative will support the Commission 2017 Communication on ’EU law: better results through better application’ and the 2017 EU Justice Scoreboard by strengthening equality bodies, considering the key role that equality bodies play in a comprehensive implementation and enforcement of EU equality legislation.

 

This study prepared for the European Parliamentary Research Service focuses on EU action and cooperation concerning equality and the fight against racism and xenophobia. Despite existing EU legislation and action, it argues that there are still significant gaps and barriers to equal treatment and to adequate prevention and prosecution of, and compensation for, hate crimes within the European Union. The impact of the gaps and barriers identified – in action and cooperation – at EU level are assessed both in terms of economic impact and their impacts on economic rights and freedoms. To address these gaps and barriers, the study provides some options for EU action in the field, including strengthening equality bodies.

 

Despite ambitious initiatives, the fundamental rights situation of Roma in the EU remains profoundly troubling. This report by the Fundamental Rights Agency examines the persisting phenomenon of anti-Gypsyism and its effect on Roma inclusion efforts. It first presents data on key manifestations of anti-Gypsyism, namely discrimination, harassment and hate crime.

 

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