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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.

 

Dublin, 22 March 2018: Today, Equinet - European Network of Equality Bodies and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission are hosting the conference Poverty and discrimination: two sides of the same coin in Dublin.

 

As part of the awareness raising campaign for the International Decade, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is organizing five regional meetings. Such meetings focus on trends, priorities and challenges at the national and regional levels to effectively implement the Decade’s Programme of Activities. The meetings are also an occasion to exchange good practices.

This second regional meeting on 23-24 November in Geneva provided an opportunity to reflect on ways and means that governments from Europe, Central Asia and North America in partnership with equality bodies, national human rights institutions, civil society, development agencies and regional organizations, may pursue to integrate the provisions of the Programmes of Activities in their policies, programmes and strategies tailored for people of African descent.

 

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.

 

 

Equality Bodies

The Austrian Ombud for Equal Treatment celebrates its 27th year in 2018, which also marks the 15th anniversary of the implementation of European legislation on the setting up of equality bodies.
This symposium aimed to address some of the hot topics in the context of anti-discrimination law and equality bodies, as well as celebrate the retirement of the outgoing Ombud, Ingrid Nikolay-Leitner.

 

On 29th November 2017, the Ombudsman of the Republic of Latvia co-organised their annual CRPD conference, as well as an award ceremony for persons with disabilities and NGOs.

 

The Ombudsman of the Republic of Latvia in cooperation with the Organization of people with disabilities and their friends “APEIRONS”, Society for persons with visual impairments “Redzi mani” of Riga, Society Integration found, the Latvian Association of the Deaf, Association for people with hearing impairments “Sadzirdi.lv” of Latvia and the Autism Society of Latvia has drafted the guidelines for employers on reasonable accommodation.

 

The Austrian Disabiliity Ombudsman (Equinet member) is organising a conference for national equality bodies and ombudsperson offices on disability and the labour market in Europe. This will take place on 15-16 November 2018, in Vienna.

 

Czech Ombudsman Anna Šabatová and Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks on inclusive education in the Czech Republic.

 

 

Europe

8 April is International Roma Day, a day on which we celebrate the Romani culture across the world and raise awareness of the issues and problems that the Roma communities face. Europe’s largest ethnic minority - an estimated 10 million Roma live in Europe and six million within the EU - is often subject to discrimination and social exclusion.

 

As millions remain exposed to racism, equality bodies must be strengthened, say heads of European human rights institutions on International Anti-Racism Day

 

A high level event "Beyond jargon: reframing our communication on human rights" was organised on 6 March 2018 on the margins of the 37th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Organised by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Office of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, EU Fundamental Rights Agency, ENNHRI and GANHRI, the objective was to discuss what can be done to make human rights popular again and to reclaim the debate in times of increasing populism and scepticism.

 

Since 2013, there has been an enhanced focus on gender equality in Equinet’s work following the incorporation of the work of the former Network of Gender Equality Bodies (previously led and facilitated by the European Commission).
As laid out in the Gender Equal Treatment Directives, equality bodies are mandated to promote equality and combat discrimination in relation to gender.

 

According to the United Nations, globally, at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). In line with equality between women and men being one of the European Union’s founding values, the EU has identified combating against violence against women and girls, including ending Female Genital Mutilation, as one of its priorities in the Strategy for equality between women and men 2010-2015 & Strategic engagement for gender equality 2016-2019. Equinet, as a key partner of the European Commission, has a special role in promoting a uniform application of EU law in the field of non-discrimination and equal treatment of women and men, and many of its member national equality bodies have a mandate to work on gender equality at national level.