|Method||Coordinating, Informing policy, Training|
|Anne Gaspard, Executive Director; Evelyn Collins, Chair of the Executive Board and Chief Executive, Equality Commission for Northern Ireland|
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.
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.
Equinet builds upon the two-year project "Strengthening the co-operation between specialised bodies for the implementation of equal treatment legislation" (2002-2004). The initiative to create a network of equality bodies was taken by the Migration Policy Group, who also acted as Equinet's Secretariat until 2007. 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.
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. 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.
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:
- 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. 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.
|Country||Name of the Equality Body||Homepage|
|Albania||Commissioner for the Protection from Discrimination||www
|Austria||Austrian Disability Ombudsman||www
|Ombud for Equal Treatment||www
|Belgium||Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities||www
|Institute for the Equality of Women and Men||igvm-iefh
|Bulgaria||Commission for Protection Against Discrimination||www
|Croatia||Office of the Ombudsman||www
|Ombudsperson for Gender Equality||www
|Ombudswoman for Persons with Disabilities||www
|Cyprus||Office of the Commissioner for Administration and Human Rights (Ombudsman)||www
|Czech Republic||Public Defender of Rights||www
|Denmark||Board of Equal Treatment||www
|Danish Institute for Human Rights||www
|Estonia||Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner||www
|Finland||Ombudsman for Equality||www
|France||Defender of Rights||www
|Germany||Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency||www
|Hungary||Equal Treatment Authority||www
|Office of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights||www
|Ireland||Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission||www
|Italy||National Office against Racial Discrimination - UNAR||www
|National Equality Councillor||http://www.lavoro.gov.it/ConsiglieraNazionale|
|Latvia||Office of the Ombudsman||www
|Lithuania||Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson||www
|Luxembourg||Centre for Equal Treatment||www
|Macedonia||Commission for Protection against Discrimination||www
|Malta||National Commission for the Promotion of Equality||www
|National Commission for Persons with Disability||http://www.knpd.org|
|Montenegro||Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms (Ombudsman)||www
|Netherlands||Netherlands Institute for Human Rights||www
|Norway||Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud||www
|Poland||Human Rights Defender||www
|Portugal||High Commission for Migration||www
|Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality – CIG||www
|Commission for Equality in Labour and Employment - CITE||www
|Romania||National Council for Combating Discrimination||www
|Serbia||Commissioner for the Protection of Equality||www
|Slovakia||National Centre for Human Rights||www
|Slovenia||Advocate of the Principle of Equality||www
|Spain||Council for the Elimination of Ethnic or Racial Discrimination||www
|UK (Great Britain)||Equality and Human Rights Commission||www
|UK (Northern Ireland)||Equality Commission for Northern Ireland||www
General Assembly of Members
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.
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.
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:
- 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 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.
Equinet has two key sources of income:
- Grant of the European Commission under Rights, Equality and Citizenship
Programme of the European Union
- Membership fees
- Equinet. "Strategic Plan 2015-2018" (PDF). Retrieved 21 October 2015.
- AGE. "Factsheet on Equinet" (PDF). Retrieved 5 November 2012.
- Gunda Werner Institute. "Institutions Of The EU Commission And Parliament". Retrieved 8 November 2012.
- Migration Policy Group. "Migration Policy Group". Retrieved 25 March 2015.
- Migration Policy Group. "Project: Equality bodies".
- European Commission. "EU action against discrimination Activity report 2007-08" (PDF). Retrieved 8 November 2012.
- Equinet. "Equinet at a Glance". Retrieved 25 March 2015.
- SIPU International. "Review of EU Networks for Civil Society Organizations" (PDF). Retrieved 8 November 2012.
- Equinet Webpage. "Strategic Plan 2015-2018" (PDF). Retrieved 25 March 2015.
- AGE. "Factsheet on Equinet" (PDF). Retrieved 8 November 2012.
- ENAR - European Network Against Racism. "What you can do if you are a victim of racial/ethnic discrimination". Retrieved 5 November 2012.
- Equinet Annual Report 2013. 2014, p. 16."Annual Report 2013" (PDF). Retrieved 25 March 2015.
- Equinet Annual Report 2013, p. 16
- Equinet Working Groups."Equinet Working Groups". Retrieved 25 March 2015.
- Equinet Secretariat. "Equinet Secretariat". Retrieved 25 March 2015.
- Equinet Webpage
- European Commission. "Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme of the European Union". Retrieved 25 March 2015.