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Danish Institute for Human Rights: Recent Activities

July 16th 2015

The Danish Institute for Human Rights is an independent state-funded institution. Our mandate is to promote and protect human rights and equal treatment in Denmark and abroad. Here are some of their most recent activities.

Gendered practices in relation to informing parents about their children

In May 2015, the Danish Institute for Human Rights published an analysis (in Danish) that looks into the Danish municipalities’ practice when it comes to sending out mail to parents in relation to their children. This could be about day care institutions, dental treatments, health care visits, school attendance etc. The analysis shows that in most cases the mothers are the ones who receive the mail. Contrary to this, 85 % of the parents agree or mostly agree that all information relating to their children should be sent to both parents. If public authorities only address women when it comes to circumstances related to their children, it sends a signal that women and men have different tasks and roles within the families and in society. The institute recommends that public authorities rethink their practice ensuring that parents with joint custody receive the same information about their children.

Discrimination of working women

According to a new mapping published by the Danish institute for Human Rights, 18% of Danish working women experience discrimination in the workplace, e.g. reduced working hours, demotion or even dismissal, because they are pregnant. The analysis also shows that when being at a job interview 14% of the applicants are asked if they are expecting a child. Another interesting find is that 21% of the fathers would like to have a longer parental leave. The overall finding is that working women experience more discrimination than working men. The institute recommends that anti-discrimination behaviour are promoted among employers, and that the Danish politicians work for a more equal distribution of parental leave among women and men.

Online platform Human Rights Indicators for Business

The Human Rights Indicators for Business is an open source database of 1,000 indicators that enable companies and other stakeholders to assess corporate policies, procedures and practices on human rights. Coca-Cola, Nestlé and Shell are just some of the companies who have used the indicators.

Companies often understand why it is important for them to act in accordance with human rights. But it can be easier said than done when they work in dozens of countries, in multiple contexts and employ thousands. The question becomes: how to do it?

Today, that answer is more easily obtained, as the Danish Institute for Human Rights makes the indicators of its Human Rights Compliance Assessment (HRCA) tool freely available to all companies by publishing a consultation draft on the Human Rights Indicators for Business platform.

“We are delighted to make these indicators available. Already, more than 400 companies have used them to self-assess, furthering human rights in the process. The indicators are based on 80 human rights instruments, so using them provides a great starting point for companies wanting to act right,” Human Rights and Development department director Allan Lerberg Jørgensen of the Danish Institute for Human Rights says. Read more...

Violation of voting rights

The Danish Institute for Human Rights has decided to support five complainants who have filed a suit against the Danish state to regain their voting rights. In Denmark, 2,000-3,000 persons are denied their right to vote or run for office because they have been appointed a guardian under Section 6 of the Guardianship Act. However, a guardian is only appointed for the individual’s protection, typically to help them manage their personal finances, and it should not influence their rights to participate in political and public life. It is the assessment of DIHR that the deprivation of voting rights for persons with limited legal capacity is a violation of Article 29 of the Convention on Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD).