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Equinet legal training on the conflicts of rights

June 15th 2011
On 12-13 September 2011, Equinet organised a two-day legal training focusing on the conflicts of the right to equal treatment and other fundamental rights.

 (Click to enlarge picture) The conflicts between the principle of equality and non-discrimination and other fundamental rights was at the heart of the Equinet legal training.

Equality Bodies in EU Member States that also act as national human rights institutions are tasked with promoting equality, fighting discrimination and protecting human rights. These combined equality and human rights bodies can sometimes be confronted with a difficult challenge as they attempt to strike a balance between the equally important rights to equal treatment and other fundamental rights when handling cases and complaints.

Through this two-day legal training Equinet showed its commitment to facilitating the sharing of experience in dealing with these types of cases and complaints between member equality bodies, and ensuring that legal staff within equality bodies acquire further knowledge of the underlying legal principles related to this subject area.

The legal training, hosted by the Austrian member organisation, the Austrian Ombud for Equal Treatment took place on 12-13 September 2011 in Vienna. The training was open to legal team experts and legal practitioners from equality bodies.
Goals of the training

The main learning objectives of the training were as follows:

- to deepen participants’ knowledge necessary to efficiently deal with case law
- to further develop their skills in interpreting anti-discrimination legislation
- to enhance participants’ knowledge in these fields in order to enable them to identify conflicts of rights and effectively address the issues arising.
Programme

The training programme is available for download
Presentations

Keynote presentations (in order of appearance)

- Aileen McColgan, Professor at King’s College London (United Kingdom)
Potential areas of conflicts between the right to equality and other fundamental rights. Conflicts with the freedom of religion and belief (presentation available to members only)

- Peter Reading, Director of Legal Policy, Equality and Human Rights Commission (United Kingdom)
Conflicts between the right to equality and other fundamental rights: the work of the Equinet Working Group Equality Law in Practice on the topic

- Anne Weber, Legal Adviser, Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights, Council of Europe
International standards of limiting the freedom of expression to combat racism and discrimination, including the case of the ECtHR

- Sofie D’Hulster, Expert on cyber hate, Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism (Belgium)
Presentation of an equality body’s approach to tackle cyber hate
Read the keynote speakers’ biographies here
Short case studies on freedom of religion and belief presented by representatives of national equality bodies (in order of appearance)

- Eva Lang - Equal Treatment Ombud, Austria

- Mary Kitson - Equality Commission for Northern Ireland

- Karethe Buchmann - Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud, Norway
Short case studies on freedom of expression presented by representatives of national equality bodies (in order of appearance)

- Istvan Haller - National Council for Combating Discrimination, Romania
- Esen Fikri - Commission for Portection against Discrimination, Bulgaria
- Christoffer Ulrik Badse - Danish Institute for Human Rights, Denmark
- Adam Keri - Equal Treatment Authority, Hungary
Claiming expenses

Travel and subsistence costs are covered by Equinet. Reimbursements are only possible when an original Equinet reimbursement form is correctly filled in and sent to the Equinet Secretariat before 14 October 2011. Original expenses proofs (receipts, invoices…) and boarding pass stubs have to be attached to the reimbursement form for the expenses to be considered. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Equinet secretariat team (yannick.godin@equineteurope.org, tel; +32 2 212 3182).
 (Click to enlarge picture) 20th Anniversary of the Ombud for Equal Treatment

The Austrian Ombud for Equal Treatment celebrated its 20th anniversary on 12 September. Gabriele Heinisch-Hosek, Federal Minister for Women and Civil Service kicked off the celebration with a moving and powerful opening speech. The thought-provoking lecture performance ’Lady Justice in the Labytrinth or How to outweigh Arguments’ by Eva Maria Gauss was the highlight of the evening.

Useful resources

Conventions and other relevant legal documents:  (Click to enlarge picture)

Legal publications and reports: