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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.

 

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.

 

 

 

Equality Bodies

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.

 

A round-table meeting on women’s rights was organised by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights on 6 December in Warsaw.

 

 

Europe

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.

 

The preliminary findings resulting from the public consultation on the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020 has been published. The consultation ran from 19 July 2017 to 25 October 2017 and gathered 240 replies. The summary report takes stock of the contributions received and gives an overview of the opinions expressed by the respondents.

 

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.