Written Testimonies

Twenty years have passed since the adoption of the Race Equality Directive, thanks to which, children around Europe learn about tolerance and the unacceptability of discrimination. The Advocate of the Principle of Equality notes that oftentimes, those violating the prohibition of discrimination are not actually aware of it.
For the past 40 years, we have been promoting equality and non-discrimination between women and men in the labour market, including around the issue of parental leave for mothers and fathers who encourage the assumption of family responsibilities in education, stimulating the healthy growth of children.
In 2017 the Commission for Protection against Discrimination (CPD) launched a national campaign named “Accessible Bulgaria”. The campaign aims to guarantee the right of disabled persons to accessible environment in places of public importance.
In Malta, the Commission for the Rights of Persons with Disability is responsible for tackling discrimination cases on the grounds of disability in all areas. In addition to this we have been involved in passing legislation in many areas to strengthen the rights of disabled people.
The Commissioner for Human Rights in Poland successfully intervened in 7 cases of violation of freedom of assembly by Mayors, who prohibited Equality (Pride) Parades. The Mayors claimed that the parades cause a risk to public safety – the Commissioner argued that they cannot be banned.
In 2013, the Commissioner for Protection of Equality received a complaint from a girl who could not enroll in Military High School because one of the conditions was that candidates must be men.
In 20 years time, we’ll be closer to realising equality in Europe if we improve our data collection on access to social rights like health care, education, housing and employment, and especially of migrants...
In 2015, the Equal Treatment Authority launched a series of specialised publications around workplace harassment, harassment in school, protected characteristics 'other situation', discrimination in education, multiple discrimination and discrimination in healthcare.

One of the biggest victories due in part to the Ombud’s work in the last 20 years is the dismissal of corrective surgery as a requirement for change of legal sex in the National Population Register. Applying the former Discrimination Act on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression of 2013, the Ombud concluded that this requirement was discriminatory based on gender identity.

Equality bodies are in the front-line in the effort to promote equality because they are easily accessed and because they can act proactively, by identifying and combating the factors which give fertile ground for discrimination to grow, such as prejudice and stereotypes.

Since 1999, Portugal has a specialized body on fighting against racial discrimination – the Commission for Equality and Against Racial Discrimination (CICDR) – that works closely with the High Commission for Migration.

We provided recommendations to Government on a new scheme for access to the labour market by applicants for international protection. July 2018 saw Ireland adopt and transpose the EU’s Reception Conditions Directive, placing reception conditions in Ireland on a statutory basis. We continue work to break down barriers to employment.
Since the establishment of the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality (NCPE) in 2004, NCPE’s remit has been widened several times through amendments in the Equality for Men and Women Act.
The biggest achievement in Finland in the past 20 years is the very extensive Non Discrimination Act that entered into force in the beginning of 2015. In the Act, the prohibition of discrimination applies to all private and public activities.
In 2019, following the Commissioner’s intervention about downgrading persons with disabilities access to lavatories in buildings of public use, the Minister of Interior revoked the previous Decree, replacing it with a new one that improves their accessibility to lavatories in buildings of public use.
In 2016, we investigated complaints about Roma persons suffering discriminative treatment in the form of ethnic profiling and screening at Hungarian and other European airports during pre-boarding to Canadian flights
After the 2007 Grand Chamber judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in the case of Roma pupils being disproportionately educated in special schools, the Czech Equality Body was the first institution to collect ethnic data...
Through EU funding, over the past six years the institution has raised awareness about gender stereotypes and gender discrimination in the labor market, focusing in particular on the recognition of the glass-ceiling, economic quotas, the balance between professional and private life, pay and pension gaps.
In accordance with her legal powers, the Ombudswoman was one of the main initiators of the amendment to the Law on the Voters’ Register, which enables persons who have been appointed a guardian for the purpose of protecting their rights, to exercise their right to vote.
In 20 years time, we'll be closer to realizing equality in Europe if all national equality bodies achieve full independence, through strengthening human and financial independence and mechanisms for implementation of their recommendations.

Civil Society Testimonies