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Equinet - the European Network of Equality Bodies
Equinet Official logo.jpg
Founded 2007
Type Not-for-profit
Focus Anti-discrimination, equality
Area served
Method Coordinating, Informing policy, Training
45 (2015)
Key people
Anne Gaspard, Executive Director; Evelyn Collins, Chair of the Executive Board and Chief Executive, Equality Commission for Northern Ireland
Website www.equineteurope.org

Equinet is the European Network of Equality Bodies. It serves as a professional platform for cooperation, capacity building and peer support amongst equality bodies around the legal interpretation and implementation in practice of the EU equal treatment Directives and around the promotion of equality and the elimination of discrimination.[1]

Equinet currently consists of 45 Equality Bodies from 33 different European countries. Members of Equinet have been established on the basis of the EU equal treatment Directives and they are empowered to counteract discrimination across the range of grounds including age, disability, gender, race or ethnic origin, religion or belief, and sexual orientation.[2]


Equinet builds upon the two-year project "Strengthening the co-operation between specialised bodies for the implementation of equal treatment legislation" (2002-2004).[3] The initiative to create a network of equality bodies was taken by the Migration Policy Group,[4] who also acted as Equinet's Secretariat until 2007.[5] Equinet was established as an independent structure in 2007 with the creation of the Equinet Secretariat in Brussels and its registration as a not-for-profit international association (AISBL) under Belgian law.[6]


Equinet is the European network of equality bodies. The network promotes equality in Europe through supporting and enabling the work of national equality bodies. It supports equality bodies to be independent and effective as valuable catalysts for more equal societies.[7] Apart from being a platform for exchange among member equality bodies, Equinet contributes to the wider European debate on matters of equal-treatment and non-discrimination by sharing the experience of equality bodies through so-called perspectives aimed at equality experts and policy-makers.[8]


Equinet attempts to strengthen the voice and contributions of national equality bodies to the wider European equality debate. Equinet's input in advancing equality is achieved by:[9]

  • Building capacity and peer support of equality bodies
  • Contributing to the European equality agenda
  • Serving as a knowledge and communication hub on equal treatment
  • Consolidating the network and the position of its members

Equinet is an umbrella organisation for European equality bodies and has no mandate to provide any kind of legal assistance to individual victims of discrimination. The organisation however provides contact details (see next section) for equality bodies based in all EU members states and beyond.[10] EU anti-discrimination legislation provides that each Member State shall have (at least) one such equality body with the power to, among other, give independent assistance to victims of discrimination. The equality bodies are specialised authorities whose staff are trained and experienced to handle cases of discrimination.[11]


Most Equinet members belong to the European Union, while five equality bodies come from outside the European Union (Albania, FYRO Macedonia, Montenegro, Norway and Serbia).

List of Equinet members[2]
Country Name of the Equality Body Homepage
Albania Albania Commissioner for the Protection from Discrimination www.kmd.al
Austria Austria Austrian Disability Ombudsman www.behindertenanwalt.gv.at
Ombud for Equal Treatment www.gleichbehandlungsanwaltschaft.at
Belgium Belgium Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities www.diversitybelgium.be
Institute for the Equality of Women and Men igvm-iefh.belgium.be
Bulgaria Bulgaria Commission for Protection Against Discrimination www.kzd-nondiscrimination.com
Croatia Croatia Office of the Ombudsman www.ombudsman.hr
Ombudsperson for Gender Equality www.prs.hr
Ombudswoman for Persons with Disabilities www.posi.hr
Cyprus Cyprus Office of the Commissioner for Administration and Human Rights (Ombudsman) www.ombudsman.gov.cy
Czech Republic Czech Republic Public Defender of Rights www.ochrance.cz
Denmark Denmark Board of Equal Treatment www.ligebehandlingsnaevnet.dk
Danish Institute for Human Rights www.humanrights.dk
Estonia Estonia Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner www.svv.ee
Finland Finland Ombudsman for Equality www.tasa-arvo.fi
Non-Discrimination Ombudsman www.syrjinta.fi
France France Defender of Rights www.defenseurdesdroits.fr
Germany Germany Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency www.antidiskriminierungsstelle.de
Greece Greece Greek Ombudsman www.synigoros.gr
Hungary Hungary Equal Treatment Authority www.egyenlobanasmod.hu
Office of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights www.ajbh.hu
Republic of Ireland Ireland Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission www.ihrec.ie
Italy Italy National Office against Racial Discrimination - UNAR www.unar.it
National Equality Councillor http://www.lavoro.gov.it/ConsiglieraNazionale
Latvia Latvia Office of the Ombudsman www.tiesibsargs.lv
Lithuania Lithuania Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson www.lygybe.lt
Luxembourg Luxembourg Centre for Equal Treatment www.cet.lu
Republic of Macedonia Macedonia Commission for Protection against Discrimination www.kzd.mk
Malta Malta National Commission for the Promotion of Equality www.equality.gov.mt
National Commission for Persons with Disability http://www.knpd.org
Montenegro Montenegro Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms (Ombudsman) www.ombudsman.co.me
Netherlands Netherlands Netherlands Institute for Human Rights www.mensenrechten.nl
Norway Norway Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud www.ldo.no
Poland Poland Human Rights Defender www.rpo.gov.pl
Portugal Portugal High Commission for Migration www.acm.gov.pt
Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality – CIG www.cig.gov.pt
Commission for Equality in Labour and Employment - CITE www.cite.gov.pt
Romania Romania National Council for Combating Discrimination www.cncd.org.ro
Serbia Serbia Commissioner for the Protection of Equality www.ravnopravnost.gov.rs
Slovakia Slovakia National Centre for Human Rights www.snslp.sk
Slovenia Slovenia Advocate of the Principle of Equality www.zagovornik.net
Spain Spain Council for the Elimination of Ethnic or Racial Discrimination www.igualdadynodiscriminacion.msssi.es
Sweden Sweden Equality Ombudsman www.do.se
United Kingdom UK (Great Britain) Equality and Human Rights Commission www.equalityhumanrights.com
United Kingdom UK (Northern Ireland) Equality Commission for Northern Ireland www.equalityni.org

Organizational Structure[edit]


General Assembly of Members[edit]

The main decisions concerning the general direction of Equinet are taken by the General Assembly of Members. This assembly is made up of all the members of the network and is convened at least once a year for an annual general meeting (AGM). The General Assembly has the power to approve new members and, following a nomination process by members, to vote for representatives on the Executive Board etc.[12]

Executive Board[edit]

Management and administration of the network is delegated to the Executive Board. The Board is also responsible for the preparation and implementation of the AGM’s decisions. Executive Board Members, the advisor to the Board and the treasurer receive no salary for their input.[13]

Working Groups[edit]

Working groups are composed of staff from member organisations and led by a moderator. Working groups are the main medium for the sharing of expertise between different equality bodies. There were four Equinet Working Groups in 2015:[14]

  • Equality Law in Practice – supporting equality bodies in their legal work
  • Gender Equality – supporting the effective promotion of gender equality and the combat against gender discrimination by equality bodies
  • Communication Strategies and Practices – supporting equality bodies in their communication work
  • Policy Formation – supporting a dialogue on the learning from the work of equality bodies

The Secretariat[edit]

The Secretariat reports to the Executive Board and implements the annual work plan of the organisation. It is responsible for the daily activities of the network and assists individual members with their requests. It assists and coordinates the work of the Working Groups. There are 6 employees working at the Equinet secretariat.[15]


Equinet has two key sources of income:[16]

Programme of the European Union[17]

  • Membership fees


  1. ^ Equinet. "Strategic Plan 2015-2018" (PDF). Retrieved 21 October 2015. 
  2. ^ a b AGE. "Factsheet on Equinet" (PDF). Retrieved 5 November 2012. 
  3. ^ Gunda Werner Institute. "Institutions Of The EU Commission And Parliament". Retrieved 8 November 2012. 
  4. ^ Migration Policy Group. "Migration Policy Group". Retrieved 25 March 2015. 
  5. ^ Migration Policy Group. "Project: Equality bodies". 
  6. ^ European Commission. "EU action against discrimination Activity report 2007-08" (PDF). Retrieved 8 November 2012. 
  7. ^ Equinet. "Equinet at a Glance". Retrieved 25 March 2015. 
  8. ^ SIPU International. "Review of EU Networks for Civil Society Organizations" (PDF). Retrieved 8 November 2012. 
  9. ^ Equinet Webpage. "Strategic Plan 2015-2018" (PDF). Retrieved 25 March 2015. 
  10. ^ AGE. "Factsheet on Equinet" (PDF). Retrieved 8 November 2012. 
  11. ^ ENAR - European Network Against Racism. "What you can do if you are a victim of racial/ethnic discrimination". Retrieved 5 November 2012. 
  12. ^ Equinet Annual Report 2013. 2014, p. 16."Annual Report 2013" (PDF). Retrieved 25 March 2015. 
  13. ^ Equinet Annual Report 2013, p. 16
  14. ^ Equinet Working Groups."Equinet Working Groups". Retrieved 25 March 2015. 
  15. ^ Equinet Secretariat. "Equinet Secretariat". Retrieved 25 March 2015. 
  16. ^ Equinet Webpage
  17. ^ European Commission. "Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme of the European Union". Retrieved 25 March 2015.