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In the report Harassment on the basis of Gender and Sexual Harassment (2014), national equality bodies flag the need to build a culture of rights to ensure that the rights we have on paper according to EU and national law become a reality on the ground.


On 17th and 18th October 2017, the UN Office for Human Rights (OHCHR), the International Disability Alliance (IDA), the European Disability Forum (EDF) and Equinet co-organised a technical workshop on engaging with the UNCRPD Committee.


The Equinet network, and in particular its work on standards for equality bodies, was presented to Member State representatives this week, at the European Commission’s High Level Group on Non-discrimination, Equality and Diversity.



“Equinet, European Network of Equality Bodies, provides a key platform for peer support among equality bodies and for identifying and communicating the policy lessons from our work. Equinet has achieved much in its first 10 years and can point to a valued contribution to advancing equality in Europe. It is well placed to continue this contribution at a time when our ambitions for equality are being sorely tested across Europe.” – Evelyn Collins, Chair of Equinet Executive Board



Equality Bodies

2017 has been designated by the European Commission as the year dedicated to combating violence against women. Many equality bodies are 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. 25 November is International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.


On 29th November 2017, The Ombudsman of the Republic of Latvia in cooperation with the Organization of people with disabilities and their friends “APEIRONS” and National library of Latvia organizes their annual conference on the implementation of UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.


In co-operation with the Slovak National Centre for Human Rights (SNCHR), the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) organised a round table in Bratislava on 28 September 2017 to discuss the follow-up to the recommendations of its 2014 report on Slovakia and its 2017 Conclusions.


The Ombudsman of Latvia translated the Equinet Handbook “How to build a case on equal pay” into Latvian. Drafted by Equinet’s Gender equality working group, the handbook was distributed to legal practitioners and legal magazines in Latvia.


Can we forbid the wearing of a full-body swimsuit in a public swimming pool? Unia asked the question to the Health and Care Agency in Flanders and the Flemish Genderkamer. Based on their arguments, Unia sees no valid reason to restrict the freedom to choose an integral swim suit. Unia deduces that, in the absence of a legal basis, this prohibition is contrary to the Flemish anti-discrimination decree.




The Social Summit for Fair Jobs and Growth, taking place in Gothenburg on 17 November, will focus on how to make the most of new opportunities and tackle common challenges for the labour markets and welfare models of today and tomorrow. By building on each country’s perspective and experience, discussions will contribute to shaping a better future for Europeans.


On 20-21 November 2017 the European Commission hosts its Annual Colloquium on Fundamental Rights. This year’s theme is ’Women’s Rights in Turbulent Times’. The recent media attention on harassment in particular, and women’s rights in general, has highlighted that there are still many challenges to achieving gender equality in our societies, making this year’s Colloquium particularly topical. Women are still underrepresented in decision-making positions, both in politics and the business world; women still earn 16% less than men on average across the EU; and violence against women is still widespread. On 25 November, the European Commission will also mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.


The Council of Europe High Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks has released a comment on homophobia and transphobia. It highlights the rise of intolerance, how LGBTI rights are human rights and suggests a comprehensive approach for tackling homophobia and transphobia.


The Commission has published the results of an assessment that looks at how Member States are implementing their national Roma integration strategies. The assessment highlights how the situation of Roma has changed since 2011.


We are calling on our members to take part in public consultation to evaluate strengths and challenges of the EU’s actions for Roma integration.