Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Hammarberg: Effective national agencies are needed to prevent discrimination

Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg Strasbourg, 21/03/11 – “Discrimination is a major problem in Europe today. Eradicating it would make our continent a much better place to live. National structures for promoting equality are key actors in this endeavour. They should be supported by political leaders,” said today the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, in releasing an Opinion on such institutions.

“These structures contribute to effectively protecting people against discrimination both in the job market and in the public sphere. They also promote a culture of rights within society and concretely address issues of discrimination and inequality.”

The Commissioner’s Opinion builds on a broad range of international instruments that establish rights in relation to non-discrimination, require member states to set up national structures for promoting equality and set standards for these bodies.

Through an analysis of the legislative framework and practice in member states, as well as specific recommendations, this Opinion aims to assist member states in enacting equal treatment legislation, establishing independent and effective equality bodies and enabling these structures to discharge their functions in an independent and effective way.

“Political leaders must support these bodies and promote their establishment were they do not exist. This is all the more necessary in times of economic crisis: State responses to the crisis should in no way slacken efforts to eradicate discrimination.”