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Conference of European Churches Church & Society Commission TRAINING ON EQUALITY AND ANTI-DISCRIMINATION csc.ceceurope.org.

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Presentation on theme: "Conference of European Churches Church & Society Commission TRAINING ON EQUALITY AND ANTI-DISCRIMINATION csc.ceceurope.org."— Presentation transcript:

1 Conference of European Churches Church & Society Commission TRAINING ON EQUALITY AND ANTI-DISCRIMINATION csc.ceceurope.org

2 Conference of European Churches Church & Society Commission csc.ceceurope.org About the Human Rights Concept  History of the development of Human Rights  Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)  Equality and Anti-Discrimination

3 Conference of European Churches Church & Society Commission csc.ceceurope.org Sharing Session  Do you have personal experiences related to (limitations of) Equality and Anti-Discrimination?  Are you aware of events or cases of other persons or religious organisations related to this issue?  Which issues play a role in discussions in your society in which the wish to restrict or defend this freedom is at stake?

4 Conference of European Churches Church & Society Commission csc.ceceurope.org Theological Reflection on the Issue of Equality and Anti- Discrimination  God’s creation is based on diversity and proclaimed “good” (Gen. 1). The issue is that there is a difference between the creation of human beings and the rest of created matter.  A variety of languages and cultures is a human precondition (Gen. 11).  The church is intercultural and inclusive from the beginning (Acts 1).  Acting against discrimination is part of the struggle for justice.  Equality in diversity (Gal. 3,28) plays a crucial role in shaping the church as the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12).

5 Conference of European Churches Church & Society Commission csc.ceceurope.org What are the present challenges related to Equality and Anti- Discrimination in Society?  Discrimination of people from different ethnic, cultural or religious origin  Discrimination of women  Discrimination of Roma and anti-gypsyism

6 Conference of European Churches Church & Society Commission csc.ceceurope.org What is discrimination? - I  Direct and indirect discrimination  Article 14 – Prohibition of discrimination (European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)) “The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.”

7 Conference of European Churches Church & Society Commission csc.ceceurope.org What is discrimination? - II  Article 1, Protocol No. 12 to the ECHR: “(1)The enjoyment of any right set forth by law shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status. (2) No one shall be discriminated against by any public authority on any ground such as those mentioned in paragraph 1.”

8 Conference of European Churches Church & Society Commission csc.ceceurope.org Some of the aspects:  Racism  Ethnic and cultural minorities  Gender  Persons with disabilities

9 Conference of European Churches Church & Society Commission csc.ceceurope.org Racism Racism is discrimination of people because of their racial or ethnic origin. We need also to mention xenophobia. Discrimination could be based on the stereotyping of people belonging to some group, making a strict dependence between belonging to the group and negative features of the person. This is termed “labelling”. Racism is based on the idea that the one race is superior to the other or, vice versa, that people of a certain race are inferior, meaning less civilised, less intelligent, less capable, less “worthy”. The differences between the races are based on prejudice and stereotyping. In its worst form the idea can take the form of “us” against “them”. Racism is widespread and can take many different forms: for example, discrimination in housing, education, work, social security, medical care and access to goods or services. Racism can also take other forms, for example “jokes” and social and cultural exclusion.

10 Conference of European Churches Church & Society Commission csc.ceceurope.org Cultural and Social Discrimination Racism includes discrimination on grounds not related to ethnic or racial elements but on, for example:  Nationality or national origin  Social origin  Language  Culture or traditions  Birth  Property

11 Conference of European Churches Church & Society Commission csc.ceceurope.org Gender  Discrimination based on gender is best known in the form of discrimination against women.  Discrimination can take the form of discrimination in civil and legal status, the right to vote or to be elected, as well as discrimination on the labour market, in social security and medical care. See, for example, the European Court of Human Rights judgment Willis v UK on differences in the application of Widow’s Payment.  Legal instrument: United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

12 Conference of European Churches Church & Society Commission csc.ceceurope.org Disability Discrimination of persons with disabilities can take the form of:  The impossibility to live independently  including the possibility to participate on the labour market;  Exclusion from community/society or  communication tools  possibilities to be mobile  to receive appropriate treatment and rehabilitation. Legal instrument: United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

13 Conference of European Churches Church & Society Commission csc.ceceurope.org Discrimination of Religious Minorities Difference in Treatment  Discrimination occurs if objective and reasonable grounds do not justify a difference in treatment.  See, for example, the European Court of Human Rights judgment Thlimmenos v Greece where a Jehovah’s Witness was convicted for refusing to wear a military uniform on religious grounds. He was therefore excluded from exercising his profession as accountant.  In this case it was considered that the background of his criminal conviction differed from the general nature of criminal convictions and therefore had to be regarded as an objective and reasonable justification not to hold the conviction against him.  Discrimination occurred as the exception was not taken into account.

14 Conference of European Churches Church & Society Commission csc.ceceurope.org Justification  The differences in treatment between religious groups or members of a religious group in relation to others can be justified if they are objectionable:  The difference must be assessed in relation to the  Legitimate aim of the measure  Proportionality of the measure  The margin of appreciation for the State.

15 Conference of European Churches Church & Society Commission csc.ceceurope.org See, for example, the European Court of Human Rights judgments:  Hoffman v Austria - a case on the custody of children, where the mother was held to infringe domestic law by bringing up her children as Jehovah’s Witnesses, as this was not the religion of the parties (parents) during their marriage.  Alujer Fernandez and Caballero Garcia v Spain - on differences in treatment between the Protestant and Catholic Church.

16 Conference of European Churches Church & Society Commission csc.ceceurope.org Discrimination  Discrimination of religious minorities is often closely related to discrimination of cultural or ethnic minorities;  For example: migrants bringing with them a religion other than the religion of the majority in the host-country.

17 Conference of European Churches Church & Society Commission csc.ceceurope.org  Majority/minority relations  See also: Minimum Standards (Minimal Rights) for Churches and Communities of Faith and Conviction

18 Conference of European Churches Church & Society Commission csc.ceceurope.org Tensions between Law and Practice Although laws prohibiting discrimination are in force, hidden discrimination in practice occurs. For example:  Differences in salary between men and women for identical jobs/positions;  Discrimination on the labour market because of the visible physical ethnic/racial background of people (skin colour).

19 Conference of European Churches Church & Society Commission csc.ceceurope.org Anti-discrimination International Legal Tools I Content In this presentation you will find an overview of the most important Conventions in the field of anti-discrimination, comprising a short description of their scope and most important elements:  United Nations:  International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination;  Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities;  Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

20 Conference of European Churches Church & Society Commission csc.ceceurope.org Anti-discrimination International Legal Tools II  Council of Europe:  Convention for the protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (known as European Convention on Human Rights);  Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities;  European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance is the CoE body mandated to combat all forms of discrimination on the basis of the European Convention on Human Rights.

21 Conference of European Churches Church & Society Commission csc.ceceurope.org Anti-discrimination International Legal Tools III  European Union  Employment Equality Directive;  Racial Equality Directive;  The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (EU FRA) is the EU organisation active to combat discrimination and racism. You will find more information about the FRA in one of the following slides.

22 Conference of European Churches Church & Society Commission csc.ceceurope.org International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) Most important elements and provisions:  to pro-actively provide legal protection against discrimination;  to grant remedies for victims;  to take action to eliminate prevailing prejudices;  to facilitate communication among superior and inferior groups;  to take positive measures/affirmative action. Body concerned: The Committee on the Elimination of Racism and Discrimination (CERD)

23 Conference of European Churches Church & Society Commission csc.ceceurope.org Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) Many of the rights that the Convention defines mirror rights affirmed in other UN Conventions, but with specific State obligations ensuring that the rights can be fully realised by persons with disabilities. Most important elements:  the right to accessibility including information technology;  the right to live independently;  the right to be included in the community (Article 19);  the right to personal mobility (Article 20);  the right to habilitation and rehabilitation (Article 26);  the rights to participation in political and public life, cultural life, recreation and sport (Articles 29 and 30).

24 Conference of European Churches Church & Society Commission csc.ceceurope.org Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) Definition of discrimination under the convention: “Any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.” Most important elements:  Condemns any form of discrimination against women;  The States parties agree to undertake measures “by all appropriate means and without delay” to eliminate discrimination against women;  Non-State actors also have obligations under the convention.

25 Conference of European Churches Church & Society Commission csc.ceceurope.org The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) of the Council of Europe is the principal and most effective human rights instrument in Europe. It entered into force in Most important elements:  Article 14 prohibits discrimination on a potentially unlimited number of grounds;  More effective protection against discrimination is provided for in the 12th Protocol to the Convention.

26 Conference of European Churches Church & Society Commission csc.ceceurope.org European Commission on Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) ECRI is mandated to combat all forms of discrimination since 1994, on the basis of the European Convention on Human Rights and its 12th Protocol and the judgments of the European Court on Human Rights. Most important elements:  Composed of independent experts;  Presents legal comments on the ECHR;  Undertakes missions to the Member States every five years that are followed by State reports with recommendations made to the Member State.

27 Conference of European Churches Church & Society Commission csc.ceceurope.org Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) The most important elements are:  Aims to ensure that the signatory states  respect the rights of national minorities;  undertake to combat discrimination;  promote equality;  preserve and develop the culture and identity of national minorities;  guarantee certain freedoms in relation to access to the media, minority languages and education;  encourage the participation of national minorities in public life.  States have to report to the Council of Europe on the measures they have undertaken.

28 Conference of European Churches Church & Society Commission csc.ceceurope.org European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML) The Charter aims to protect and promote historical regional and minority languages in Europe. Most important elements and scope:  Only applies to languages  traditionally used by nationals of the States parties (excluding languages used by recent immigrants from other States);  which significantly differ from the majority or official language (excluding what the State party wishes to consider as mere local dialects of the official or majority language);  that either have a territorial basis (traditionally spoken by populations of regions or areas within the State);  that are used by linguistic minorities within the State as a whole (including such languages as Yiddish and Romani).

29 Conference of European Churches Church & Society Commission csc.ceceurope.org EU Employment Equality Directive Racial Equality Directive Basis:  Article 19 of the Treaty of Lisbon.  The Employment Equality Directive (2000/78) protects everyone in the EU from discrimination based on age, disability, sexual orientation and religion or belief in the workplace.  The Racial Equality Directive (2000/43) prohibits discrimination on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin in the workplace as well as in other areas of life such as education, social security, healthcare and access to goods and services.

30 Conference of European Churches Church & Society Commission csc.ceceurope.org European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) The FRA is an Advisory Body of the EU. Tasks:  Helps to ensure that the fundamental rights of people living in the EU are protected;  Collects evidence about the situation of fundamental rights across the European Union;  Provides advice, based on evidence, about how to improve the situation. The FRA is the former European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC).

31 Conference of European Churches Church & Society Commission csc.ceceurope.org Legal Source Material for the Training on Racism and Anti-Discrimination  International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD)  Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)  UN Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, and the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance  Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination  The Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)  Forum Menschenrechte, Eliminating racist discrimination in Germany

32 Conference of European Churches Church & Society Commission csc.ceceurope.org Theological Resource Material for the Training on Racism and Anti-Discrimination  World Council of Churches, A Moment to Choose: Risking to be with Uprooted People, Statement;  World Council of Churches, Understanding racism today, Dossier;  World Council of Churches, Being church and overcoming racism, Document.

33 Conference of European Churches Church & Society Commission csc.ceceurope.org Proposals for Action: What could we do in order to combat discrimination on all grounds?


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