The Equal Rights Trust advocacy promotes improvements to equality laws, policies and practices, to bring these into line with international standards, as expressed in the Declaration of Principles on Equality
Creating Major Advocacy Tools
We publish comprehensive country and thematic reports intended to be used as advocacy tools for a number of years. In October 2014, we launched In Search of Confluence: Addressing Discrimination and Inequality in Sudan
. Its main proposition – that inequality is the root cause of the past and current armed conflicts in Sudan – is gaining broad acceptance. Three UN treaty bodies have already made use of the report: the UN Human Rights Committee, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights endorsed its findings and recommendations, in particular in respect to inter-ethnic relations, sexual violence in conflict and the adoption of comprehensive equality law.
Our international advocacy focuses on using procedures designed to subject states to scrutiny. To do this we make regular submissions to the Human Rights Council and to UN Treaty Bodies, providing evidence on patterns of discrimination and analysis of equality laws and policies in different countries.
Our submissions have proved effective in influencing these bodies to ask questions and make recommendations to states, thus increasing scrutiny of the effectiveness of measures to prevent discrimination and advance equality.
- From July 2014 to June 2015, we made a total of 24 submissions on countries ranging from Azerbaijan to the United Kingdom.
At the domestic level, we engage directly with national governments and parliaments to promote improved legal and policy networks related to equality.
- In October 2014, we made a submission to the Hong Kong Equal Opportunities Commission in response to a consultation as part of its Discrimination Law Review aimed to harmonise and improve the four existing ground-specific anti-discrimination ordinances into a single law. The Trust’s 50-page response to the consultation covered an array of issues, including terminology and definitions, the scope of the right to non-discrimination, the undesirability of certain exemptions and limitations, etc.
Building Advocacy Movements
We strengthen civil society movements working to combat discrimination and promote equality, and support the establishment of advocacy coalitions and the development and implementation of advocacy strategies in a wide range of countries.
- In Kenya, we successfully established a coalition of over 60 organisations to campaign for legal reform on equality, providing training, facilitating the work of an expert working group, and supporting engagement with the government. This work laid the foundations necessary for the establishment of a new national human rights institution focused on all forms of discrimination.
- In Croatia, we established the Croatia Equality Forum, providing a platform for civil society organisations to engage with the government’s legal reform process and to secure amendments to laws such as the Labour Act and the Family Act.