European network of legal experts in the non-discrimination field
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The information contained on this page represents the situation as of 1 January 2014 and is a summary of the country report produced by the country expert from the network. The summary can be downloaded here as well.

Manuel Malheiros

Country context

The results for the 2011 census show that the Portuguese population numbers is of  10,561,178. Around 19% of the Portuguese population is aged 65 and over and 14,9% is aged up to 14 years. There are approximately 340 immigrants per 1,000 inhabitants, and there are 394 496 legally resident foreigners.

Main principles and definitions

Racial discrimination is defined as ‘any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference on the grounds of race, colour, ancestry, national or ethnic origin, which has the objective of, or results in, invalidation or restriction of the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, in equal conditions, of rights, liberties or guarantees, or of economic, social or cultural rights’. This definition is so broad that it also covers discrimination by association or perception.

Enforcing the law

a) The most important government agencies to enforce antidiscrimination law are:

- Alto Comissariado para a Imigração e Diálogo Intercultural (ACIDI) [High Commission for Immigration and Intercultural Dialogue]. The mission of the High Commission for Immigration and Intercultural Dialogue (ACIDI) is to collaborate in the creation, implementation and evaluation of sector, crosscutting and public policies concerned with the integration of immigrants and the ethnic minorities, as well as to promote the dialogue between the various cultures, ethnic groups and religions. 

Main legislation

Portugal has ratified the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Revised European Social Charter, the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and ILO Convention 111 on Discrimination. In addition it has signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Material scope

Anti-discrimination provisions cover all the fields listed in the Directives, namely employment, social benefits, education, goods and services, and housing. Discrimination on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin, nationality, religion or belief, age, disability and sexual orientation are prohibited in employment and vocational training, including in prisons. Discrimination on the grounds of race or ethnic origin, colour, ancestry and nationality is also prohibited in relation to the exercise of any civil rights, liberties or social or cultural rights. With regard to employment, anti-discrimination provisions apply to both the public and private sectors.

Equality bodies

The core of the system to combat racial and ethnic discrimination is the ACIDI. It is the ACIDI’s responsibility to promote equality of treatment among all persons, without any discrimination on grounds of racial or ethnic origin, and also to promote dialogue with and integration of immigrants, ethnic minorities and religions existing in the country.

Go to the European Commission - Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities This initiative is financed by the EC Programme Progress. But the views expressed in this website do not necessarily reflect the official views of the EU institutions.