European network of legal experts in the non-discrimination field
  • Go to Logo Human European Consultancy
  • Go to the Migration Policy Group

New national Institute for Human Rights incorporates the existing national equality body in the Netherlands

On 2 October 2012 the newly established Netherlands Institute for Human Rights (College voor de Rechten van de Mens) was officially launched with a festive public ceremony to which her Majesty the Queen and several members of the Cabinet attended. This institution is an integrated body: the old Equal Treatment Commission (existing since 1994) has been incorporated into the newly established NIHR. The provisions of the General Equal Treatment Act regarding the former Equality Treatment Commission were repealed by the Human Rights Institute Act.  The Human Rights Institute carries out the same tasks as prescribed in Chapter 2 of the Human Rights Institute Act: ‘Investigations and findings relating to equal treatment’ (Articles 9-13). A specific unit of the Institute deals with individual discrimination complaints (Art. 9).

Threat to mandatory equality impact assessments in the UK

In a surprise announcement to the Confederation of British Industry’s conference in November 2012 the Prime Minister stated his intention to do away with the obligation on public authorities to consider the impact of their decision making on equality. According to the Prime Minister, “car[ing] about making sure that government policy never marginalises or discriminates… does not have to mean churning out reams of bureaucratic nonsense. We have smart people in Whitehall who consider equalities issues while they're making the policy. We don't need all this extra tick-box stuff." The Government has lost a number of high profile judicial review claims in which it has been alleged that decision makers erred in law in inadequately assessing the impact of their decision making on equality. David Cameron also announced his intention radically to reduce the number of legal challenges to governmental decision making by making judicial review more expensive and by reducing the already short three month maximum period within which claims must be brought.

Croatian Ombudsman’s Report on Discrimination in 2011

On 1 July 2013, Croatia has become the 28th country to accede the European Union. Candidate countries have to fully transpose and implement the EU legislation by the time of accession, including anti-discrimination legislation.

At the end of June 2012, the Ombudsman, the national equality body, published a report on discrimination for the year of 2011.

In 2011, the Ombudsman received 147 new complaints of discrimination (compared to 144 complaints received in 2010), mostly in the field of labour and employment and ethnicity being the most common ground of discrimination. In 2011, 143 cases were solved (recommendation or warning in 8 cases; no discrimination found in 43 cases; legal advice or information to the victim in 19 cases; joined the court proceedings as an intervener on the behalf of the plaintiff in 2 cases; initiated legislation changes in 1 case; case sent to specialised ombudsman in 24 cases).

More powers granted to equality body

The national equality body (the National Office against Racial Discrimination – UNAR) was set up by Article 7 of Decree 2003 no. 115, transposing Directive 2000/43/EC, and by Decree of the President of the Governmentof 11 December 2004. The original mission of the Office was to implement activities to promote equal treatment and to eliminatediscrimination based on race or ethnic origin. The Office has however always interpreted its tasks as including discrimination against nationality. In the course of 2010 the Department of the Government (to which the Office belongs) has enlarged its competences to encompass all types of discrimination. UNAR has therefore on its own initiative started to deal with all grounds of discrimination, in particular those covered by Directive 2000/78/EC. A Ministerial decree of 31 May 2012 has officially confirmed the extension of competences and provides detailed guidelines regarding the activities of the Department.

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.