Due to the adoption of EU directives in the field of non-discrimination, all Member States of the European Union and the EFTA/EEA countries have experienced a remarkable spread of equality bodies.
The Study on equality bodies set up under Directives 2000/43/EC, 2004/113/EC, and 2006/54/EC will analyse the extent to which the quality bodies established in the Member States are in compliance with the directives. The body or bodies that have been established aim at the promotion of equal treatment of all persons and have to fulfill the following powers:
- provide independent assistance to victims of discrimination in pursuing their complaints about discrimination;
- conduct independent surveys concerning discrimination;
- publish independent reports and make recommendations on any issue relating to discrimination.
Equality bodies contribute essentially to the support of victims of discrimination and to the development of expertises on matters of equality, diversity and discrimination. They can also symbolise and communicate a society’s commitment to equality and rejection of discrimination.
Despite the huge potential of equality bodies, practical challenges persist and the existence of a high level of under-reporting of discrimination gives reason for concern. The current economic recession can cause backlashes in terms of equality and non-discrimination. In the light of these challenges, the study will enable important learning processes on the achievement of full potential in combating discrimination.
The project is carried out by a consortium of two organisations – the Human European Consultancy and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights.
The practice-oriented approach of the project includes quantitative and qualitative elements of research. Experts in 30 countries draft reports on the equality bodies in the respective national context. These reports are based on guidelines developed by the consortium of the project and they contain information generated by focus group discussions with representatives of the equality bodies and stakeholders, a questionnaire addressed to the equality bodies as well as literature reviews. The national reports form the basis of a synthesis report written by the consortium which contains recommendations to the European Commission, the Member States and the equality bodies in order to improve their efficiency and impact. To download the report see attachment.