The General Assembly of Equinet Members met in Brussels on 4 December 2014 for the 2014 Annual General Meeting (AGM).
Laura Ferrara, MEP, is the European Parliament Rapporteur of the own initiative report on the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union for the years 2013-2014.
She believes the time has come for the EU to set up a true internal strategy on fundamental rights. As the only European institution directly elected by citizens, she wants the Parliament to play an important role in shaping this strategy and hopes to involve National institutions with a human rights remit to be fully involved in this process.
She is calling for support to shade some light on the situation of fundamental rights in the Member States by getting national organisations to answer the questions below. Please send replies to Laura.email@example.com by 16th February 2015.
- According to your direct experience, what are the major issues of fundamental rights in your country and in the EU?
- In particular, could you outline your experience – if any – on the impact of austerity measures on fundamental rights in your country but also the impact of those measures on your institution?
People of African descent are highly discriminated across Europe. They are one of the largest minorities on the continent, officially unrecognised but easily noticeable: an invisible visible minority of around 12-15 million people.
White Paper Consultation: Progress so far
Following the first phase of consultation that closed on the 28 March 2014, the Ministry for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties of Malta received 15 submissions. Moreover, as part of the consultation process seven international meetings were held with representatives from other institutions and authorities. A report on the outcome of the consultation can be found below.
The first phase of the consultation process sought views by asking the following questions:
Do you think that human rights and equality are sufficiently protected and promoted in Malta?
- Which human rights do you believe need further protection and promotion?
- How can Malta better protect and promote human rights and equality overall?
- Are there any models that you would propose that government should consider looking at in terms of legislation, institutional frameworks or both? If yes, what is especially good about such models?
A common recommendation in most of the submissions referred to the need to set up an independent National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) in accordance with the Paris Principles, which has the mandate, resources and authority to act as Malta’s focal point on human rights and equality issues.
On Human Rights Day, the Ministry for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties launched a White Paper on the setting up of a Human Rights and Equality Commission based on the Paris Principles that establish the highest standards for a human rights institution.
Through this White Paper, the Government is launching two legislative initiatives:
1. An Equality Act that will aim to meet the highest anti-discrimination and equality standards
2. A Human Rights and Equality Commission Act that will set up the Commission.
Is the approach proposed by the White Paper suitable in your view? Why? What is missing? What needs to be stronger?
Please send your input by 10 February 2015 through one of the following channels:
Via the Online Form
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
By post: HREC Consultation
Ministry for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties
Valletta VLT 1971
The European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI) is currently seeking a Project Coordinator. The deadline for applications has been extended until 12H00 (CET) on 16 February 2015.
Since 1 January 2015 inadequate accessibility is included in the Swedish Discrimination Act as a new form of discrimination. The aim is to contribute to increased accessibility in society as to ensure the equal participation of persons with disabilities.
2015 marks an ambitious new period in the Equinet calendar as we launch the Strategic Plan for 2015 to 2018, which extends and develops the objectives and strategies from the 2011 to 2014 period.
At the Annual General Meeting held on 4th December 2014, the members of Equinet agreed to adopt the plan which emphasises the mission of Equinet as being a network which “promotes equality in Europe through supporting and enabling the work of national equality bodies”. It will do this by supporting “equality bodies to be independent and effective as valuable catalysts for more equal societies”.
The new Strategic Plan has four main objectives:
- Building capacity and peer support of equality bodies
- Contributing to the European Equality Agenda
- Serving as a knowledge and communication hub on equal treatment
- Consolidating the network and the position of its members
Apart from continued capacity-building and consolidation of the network and its members, there is a new focus on contributing more to the European Equality Agenda and establishing Equinet as a knowledge and communication hub on equal treatment.
The Strategic Plan is supported by the 2015 Work Plan which clearly outlines the activities and outputs that are planned for the year and links them to the respective objectives that they aim to meet.
Over the period of its first two strategic plans (2007-2010 and 2011-2014), Equinet – European Network of Equality Bodies grew from a membership of twenty to forty two equality bodies in thirty two countries. It has developed into a professional platform for cooperation, capacity building and peer support amongst equality bodies around issues of legal interpretation and implementation in practice of the EU equal treatment Directives and promotion of equality.
This third Strategic Plan, developed through a broad consultation process with its members and various stakeholders at the EU and international levels, will guide Equinet’s work from 2015 to 2018. The objective of this plan is for Equinet to enable equality bodies to further build capacity to deepen their independence and effectiveness, give voice to the experience, expertise, learning and insights from equality bodies and their work of implementing equal treatment legislation, and act as a hub that supports the information flows necessary to enable and empower the work of equality bodies.