2019 is a milestone year for Equinet as our European Network of Equality Bodies embarks on the first year of its new Strategic Plan for the period 2019 – 2022. Building upon our achievements and learnings from previous years, we start with renewed motivation and energy to work towards the realisation of the objectives under the new Strategic Plan, to advance and achieve substantive equality for all in Europe.
On 5 December 2018, the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency (FADA) published the results of a survey on inadmissible questions at job interviews. The survey investigates the extent to which applicants are sensitised to the inadmissibility of questions regarding the characteristics protected under the General Act on Equal Treatment in job interviews, and whether they had ever faced such questions in the past. In addition, attitudes towards anonymised job application procedures were surveyed.
There have been a range of important events taking place at in Brussels over the past few weeks, focusing on democracy in the EU, being black in Europe, legal developments at EU level and tackling discrimination against Muslims in the EU. Equinet was there, representing the expert voice of equality bodies to advance equality in Europe.
On the occasion of the Equinet board meeting in Vienna, the Austrian Ombud for Equal Treatment is hosting a side-event in the House of the European Union to discuss the links between the UN-Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and equality bodies.
16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign starting on 25 November, the International Day to End Violence against Women. The members of the Gender Equality Working Group and the Project on Violence Against Women discussed ways in which Equinet could be involved in this initative. The members decided to launch a social media campaign that will highlight good practices from different equality bodies on ways to tackle violence against women.
25 November 2018 was the International Day to End Violence against Women. Ahead of this day, numerous statements, initiatives and campaigns were launched by European institutions and organistions as well as civil society organisations. To emphasize the work of equality bodies on this particular topic, Equinet launched a social media campaign which will be ungoing during the international ”16 Days of Activism” campaign, starting on 25 November. Different posts will highlight good practices on combating violence against women from various equality bodies. Find more information about the Equinet campaign here.
As the UK’s departure from the European Union approaches, the British Government is preparing to take on the new responsibility of trade negotiations. The Trade Bill currently passing through the British Parliament is laying the groundwork for this. Civil society has called for the inclusion of Human Rights and Democracy clauses that are at least equal to the EU’s standards, and others emphasise that this is also an opportunity to introduce higher standards.
On 29th October 2018, the Albanian Commissioner for Protection from Discrimination organized the Third Regional Conference of Equality Bodies, by topic “Independence of Equality Bodies”, at the Palace of Brigades, in Tirana, Albania. The Conference was partly financially supported by the OSCE.
In November 2018, a legal expertise opinion, commissioned by FADA, was released on reasonable accommodation/adjustments. The author of the opinion argues that international and EU law oblige Germany to explicitly include reasonable accommodation in the General Equal Treatment Act, and he recommends to do so for all grounds of discrimination.
Finding inspiration and gathering ideas on inclusive education: that was the goal of the international conference on 8 and 9 October. For this two-day conference, Unia joined forces with the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights and received support from the OHCHR Regional Office in Brussels.