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Czech Republic – Public Defender of Rights: Latest activities

Incorporation of Discrimination by Association in the Czech Anti-Discrimination Act

The Czech Public Defender of Rights recommends to the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament adding a paragraph in the Anti-Discrimination Act in case Discrimination by association which means less favourable treatment of a person for the reason that a person related to him/her may be potentially discriminated.
The Defender has encountered discrimination by association in complaints relating to employment and housing issues. While the Defender believes that governmental authorities should take account of European case-law, it is uncertain that they would actually apply the prohibition of discrimination by association to all discrimination grounds and forms of discrimination.
In addition, knowledge and interpretation of European case-law cannot be reasonably required of those who are primarily subject to the Anti-Discrimination Act (individual natural persons and legal entities). Thus, the Defender’s recommendations pursue principally the objective of stipulating and clarifying rights (of employees, consumers) and duties (of employees, sellers).

Annual Report of Czech Public Defender of Rights

The Czech Defender’s activities in the area of equal treatment and protection against discrimination in 2014 were characterized by tackling discrimination cases and providing educational support to duty bearers. The Defender found discrimination in seventeen cases. Ten cases involved direct discrimination, four concerned indirect discrimination. One case concerned both direct and indirect discrimination.
In 2014, the Czech Defender received 332 complaints concerning unequal treatment. The Defender addressed 398 complaints concerning discrimination. The most complaints in 2014 concerned discrimination in work and employment (93 complaints) and in public administration (77 complaints).
She found that discrimination indeed occurred in seventeen cases (some of the complaints were delivered in 2012 and 2013). As regards the traditional discrimination grounds, those most frequently invoked included disability (65), age (62) and race and ethnicity (46). A decrease was seen in discrimination on the grounds of gender (30) and a slight increase occurred in complaints based on religion and worldview (19).
Several cases were submitted by victims of discrimination to courts after they had been supported by the Defender’s legal opinion. Even though the courts are yet to decide, this already is a positive change as in the past, victims of discrimination often did not defend themselves.
However, from the perspective of the society as a whole, the developments are only tentative. People still have little awareness of equal treatment issues and they fear that they could be further harmed if their case was heard in court. Further barriers to enforcing anti-discrimination law traditionally include lack of proof, inaccessibility of good legal advice, the length of proceedings and the amount of the court fee for filling an anti-discrimination action. These issues must be addressed from the point of view of the entire system at the level of the legislature and by the executive branch. It is also important to raise awareness in entities on which the anti-discrimination law imposes duties (employers, providers of services and education).

Czech Public Defender of Rights website

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Spotlight on promoting equality in Denmark

Ms. Susanne Nour Magnusson is the Director of the Equality Department in the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR).

The DIHR is a founding member of Equinet and an independent national human rights institution (NHRI) (modelled in accordance with the UN Paris Principles) as well as a national equality body in accordance to the Danish law on equal treatment within the areas of race, ethnicity, gender and disability. More information about the institute can be found here.

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Eliza Savvidou on promoting equality in Cyprus, the economic crisis and the Cypriot Presidency of the EU

The Office of the Commissioner for Administration and Human Rights is one of the oldest Equinet members (it joined the network in 2007) and has the role of Ombudsman and National Equality Body in the Republic of Cyprus.

Ms. Eliza Savvidou, the head of the Office, discussed with us the challenges faced by her institution in times of austerity, the opportunities provided by Equinet, and the commitment of Cypriot society to equal treatment.

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Jozef de Witte on the beginnings and opportunities of Equinet

On the occasion of launching its new website, Equinet discussed with Mr. Jozef de Witte, Chair of the Equinet Board and Director of the Belgian Interfederal Centre for Equal
Opportunities
, about the establishment, challenges and opportunities of Equinet.

The Belgian Centre, one of the founding members of Equinet, is a federal public service, independent in the fulfillment of its mission, with around 100 employees and an operating budget of almost 9 million Euros. When it was initially founded in 1993, support to victims of racial discrimination was the central task of the Centre. Through consecutive Acts of Parliament, the Centre’s mandate was extended: it also became competent for issues related to migration, human trafficking, poverty and non-racial discrimination, and denial of the Holocaust.

As of July 2012, the Centre has been appointed as the independent mechanism to fulfil the Belgian obligations of Article 33.2 of the UN-Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

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The Danish Board of Equal Treatment in the spotlight

The Danish Board of Equal Treatment joined Equinet in 2009, the same year it started its activity as Denmark’s first quasi-judicial administrative board covering all grounds of discrimination.

In the following interview Ms. Susanne Fischer (pictured left), the Deputy Head of the Board’s Secretariat, will talk about the key projects and achievements of her organization, the main discrimination issues it deals with, and its role in pushing forward the non-discrimination agenda in the context of the Danish presidency of the EU.

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Members in the Spotlight

[/

In this section we will give the floor to our members. Every few months, one of them will:

  • describe its mission, its current activities and possibly the issues or challenges it faces at that particular time;
  • give examples of cases it is dealing with.
  • give other members a better understanding of the specific context in which they operate


This section will also contribute to:

  • building a more interactive and participative website
  • making other members better acquainted with the activities they implement to promote diversity, challenge prejudices and foster equality in their national context
  • allowing Equinet members to share experience, solutions to common problems and strategies to combat discrimination.


Members in the Spotlight

(logo) Danish Institute for Human Rights
(logo) Danish Institute for Human Rights
The Danish Institute for Human Rights

Interview with Ms. Ms. Susanne Nour Magnusson, the Director of the Equality Department in the Danish Institute for Human Rights (Summer 2013)

(logo) Cypriot Commissioner for Administration and Human Rights
(logo) Cypriot Commissioner for Administration and Human Rights
The Cypriot Commissioner for Administration and Human Rights

Interview with Ms. Eliza Savvidou, Cypriot Commissioner for Administration and Human Rights (Winter 2012-2013)

(logo) Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities
(logo) Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities
The Belgian Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities

Interview with Mr. Jozef De Witte, Chair of Equinet and Director of the Centre (Summer 2012)

(logo) Danish Board of Equal Treatment
(logo) Danish Board of Equal Treatment
The Danish Board of Equal Treatment
Interview with Ms. Susanne Fischer, Deputy Head of the Board’s Secretariat (Winter 2011)
(logo) Serbian Commission for the Protection of Equality
(logo) Serbian Commission for the Protection of Equality
The Serbian Commissioner for the Protection of Equality

Interview with Ms. Nevena Petrušić, Commissioner for the Protection of Equality (Autumn 2011)

(logo) Hungarian Equal Treatment Authority
(logo) Hungarian Equal Treatment Authority
The Hungarian Equal Treatment Authority

Interview with Dr. Agnes Honecz, President of the Equal Treatment Authority (Spring – Summer 2011)

(logo) Greek Ombudsman
(logo) Greek Ombudsman
The Greek Ombudsman

Interview with Mr Vasileios Karydis, Deputy Ombusdman for Human Rights (Winter 2010)

(logo) Spanish Race Equality Council
(logo) Spanish Race Equality Council
The Spanish Race and Ethnic Equality Council

Interview with Mr Jose Manuel Fresno, Head of the Spanish equality body (Autumn 2010)

/]

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The Serbian Commission for the Protection of Equality in the spotlight

“It is better to light a candle than to curse darkness”, a motto that sums up the general approach to work of Ms. Nevena Petrušić, the Serbian Commissioner for the Protection of Equality. In an interview for the Autumn’s issue of Equinet Member in the Spotlight, Ms Petrušić underlines the main discrimination issues her organisation deals with, its key projects and achievements, and her personal motivation for working in the field of equality and anti-discrimination.

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The Hungarian Equal Treatment Authority in the spotlight

[/This Spring Hungary is under the international spotlight as it takes over the rotating presidency of the EU. It is an opportune moment to give visibility to the work and achievements of the Equal Treatment Authority (ETA), one of the Hungarian member organisations of Equinet./]

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The Greek Ombudsman in the spotlight

[/The Greek Ombudsman is a constitutionally established independent authority. it provides its services to all citizens free of charge. The mission of the organisation is to mediate between public administration and citizens, in order to protect citizens’ rights, to ensure compliance with the rule of law, and to combat maladministration./]

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The Spanish Race and Ethnic Equality Council in the spotlight

[/One year ago the Spanish Race and Ethnic Equality Council was created. Chaired by José Manuel Fresno (pictured left), senior expert on equality and Roma policies, this new equality body is ascribed to the Ministry of Equality. The Council currently has 28 members from a variety of organizations dealing with race & ethnic non-discrimination policies (national, regional and local public administrations; trade unions; enterprises associations; NGOs)./]