On 9 and 10 November 2015, staff of member equality bodies joined hosts Equinet and the Equality and the Human Rights Commission in London for a capacity building seminar entitlted “A question of faith. Religion and belief in the work of equality bodies”.
Several reports highlight the worrying rise of anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim incidents in Europe in recent years. In particular, the attacks in Brussels, Paris and Copenhagen had a profound impact on religious communities and triggered the need for collective responses at national and European levels to combat religious hatred and discrimination on the ground of religion and belief, and effectively enforce the right to freedom of religion.
As part of this collective response, in October 2015, the first Annual Colloquium on Fundamental Rights organised by the European Commission focused on “Tolerance and respect: preventing and combating anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim hatred in Europe”. (For Equinet participation and the Colloquium Conclusions, see here.)
The 2011 report from Equinet’s Equality Law Working Group “A question of faith: religion and belief in Europe” highlighted the sensitivity and the difficulty in dealing with cases related to religion and belief discrimination. As a complement to this legal analysis, in Autumn 2015, Equinet’s Policy Formation Working Group will publish a Perspective on the work and experience of equality bodies on the ground of religion and belief. The Perspective will serve as one of the bases for discussion at the upcoming Equinet Seminar.
The seminar aimed to take stock of legal and political developments, as well as remaining challenges in ensuring freedom of religion and combating religious or faith-based discrimination at European and national levels. It analysed the role of and challenges for equality bodies in addressing issues of religion and belief by discussing good practices in the use of their legal, research, communication and promotional functions.
The seminar built on previous work by Equinet in this field, notably on publications by its legal and policy formation working groups, and was hosted by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (UK). <img2022|right>
In particular, the seminar aimed to:
Chair: Evelyn Collins, Equality Commission for Northern Ireland
Chair: Tamás Kádár, Head of Legal and Policy, Equinet Secretariat
Chair: Imane El Morabet, Legal Advisor, Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities, Belgium
|A question of faith. Religion and belief in the work of equality bodies – Nov. 2015|