News [1]: Barroso Urged to Keep His Word On Equal Rights [2]

By : Sven Rabatzky on Apr 10, 2008 - 11:32 PM
Politics [3]
(EU) - Within the next couple of months, the fate of an EU directive protecting against discrimination on the grounds of age, disability, sexual orientation and religion/belief in all areas of life will be decided by the European Commission and the European Council. At the moment, there are signs that this directive will not include sexual orientation, age and religion/belief. ILGA-Europe is calling on everyone to join its campaign to ensure that a comprehensive new EU anti-discrimination directive which protects against discrimination on all grounds and in all areas of life is proposed and adopted.

For years ILGA-Europe and other European networks working against discrimination on the grounds of age, disability and religion/belief have been calling for a harmonised EU anti-discrimination legislation which would eliminate the hierarchy of rights and protections that currently exists in EU law:

-- race and ethnicity: discrimination is banned in all areas of life; -- sex: discrimination is banned in employment and in access to goods and services; -- sexual orientation, age, disability, religion and belief: discrimination is banned only in employment.

In 2004, Mr Barroso, the President of the European Commission made a promise after the European Parliament dismissed the proposed Commission because of the questionable human rights records of Mr Buttiglione. He made a statement before the Parliament promising to personally ensure that the legal protections would be enlarged to all forms of discrimination. The European Parliament called for such a directive at least on seven occasions in the past 8 years.

Deborah Lambillotte, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe Executive Board, said:

“We are concerned by indications that the project of one directive embracing all grounds of discrimination and applying to all areas of life might be abandoned by the Commission. We want to remind European decision-makers that the principles of human rights and equality are the basis upon which the current Commission was approved by the European Parliament four years ago. The Commission needs to live up to its promises, deliver such a directive and prove that the commitment made in 2004 were not just empty words.”

Martin K.I. Christensen, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe Executive Board, continued:

“We encourage all our members in the European Union, all our allies and supporters to actively get involved in this campaign. Contact your Commissioner, talk to your government officials. Let them know that lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Europe still suffer from discrimination in education, healthcare, in accessing goods and services and that they need to be protected.

Discrimination is not just an abstract concept. Discrimination is an unfortunate lived reality for many people. Mobilise your members, colleagues, friends and relatives to send a clear demand to the Commission and to your government – the current EU hierarchy of protections against discrimination has to end now! Call on them to ensure that everyone in the EU is equally protected against discrimination.”

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