In June 2015, two study visits were organised by Equinet members. The French Defender of Rights visited the Belgian Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities and the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland welcome the Maltese National Commission for the Promotion of Equality.
On 23rd June 2015, a delegation comprising the French Defender of Rights Jacques Toubon and staff members visited the Belgian Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities. The visit took place in the context of the partnership signed between the two equality bodies in 2012. It aimed to exchange on the Interfederal Centre’s approach concerning racist, hate speech and strategic planning in view of the launch of a platform against racism by the French Defender of Rights on 15th September 2015.
Article co-drafted by the Maltese National Commission for the Promotion of Equality and the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland
The study visit was hosted by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland and took place in Belfast between 23rd and 25th June 2015, ending with a visit to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Ireland in Dublin on 26th June. Given that NCPE is expected to become a NHREC in the near future, meetings such as the one with IHREC in Dublin were especially beneficial.
The overall objectives of the project entitled Developing a Culture of Rights through Capacity Building (ESF4.220) are to work towards strengthening NCPE’s capacity in improving internal mechanisms in order to better policy and programme design, monitoring, evaluation and implementation. A key aspect of the project was therefore to further strengthen the knowledge and resource capacity of the entity through research, training and a study visit. This project has two project partners, the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland and the Austrian Ombud for Equal Treatment.
Within this overall context the purpose of the study visit was to share expertise and learn from a long established equality body about methods used to address different areas of work; consider methods for monitoring and evaluating work; promotion, training and communication strategies, as well as techniques for reaching out to various stakeholders– including SMEs. A key aspect was also to share experience in relation to strategies aimed at positively impacting on public policy. Corporate arrangements and governance was also to be considered during the study visit.
The study visit was hosted by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland and took place in Belfast between 23 and 25 June 2015, ending with a visit to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Ireland in Dublin on 26 June. Given that NCPE is expected to become a NHREC in the near future, meetings such as the one with IHREC in Dublin were especially beneficial.
The first day of the study visit included a welcome from the Chief Executive of the Equality Commission for NI, Ms Evelyn Collins CBE and inputs from senior colleagues from each of the functional areas of the Equality Commission i.e. promoting equality in employment; assisting individuals, casework and the role of investigations; shaping public policy; monitoring and evaluating delivery as well as developing and implementing communication strategies.
Over the next two days NCPE visitors, including NCPE’s Commissioner, Ms Renee Laiviera, met stakeholders from a range of sectors – including employers and service providers; public authorities, trade unions and NGOs to learn of their work on mainstreaming equality; and a number of NGOs to hear about their work promoting equality and assisting individuals in specific areas. The NCPE visitors then travelled to Dublin to meet with senior colleagues in the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission to learn from their experiences of developing and operating the IHREC.
The study visit proved to be fruitful for both parties not only for the mutual learning experience but it also strengthened the good relations between the 2 equality bodies. Such networks with the various stakeholders will undoubtedly prove to be useful in any of our future endeavours.