London, 21 May 2015

The Equal Rights Trust has today called for the establishment of an international Commission of Inquiry on the involvement of the government of Myanmar in the persecution of the Rohingya, stressing that the government’s persistent failure to respect, protect and fulfil the rights of the Rohingya population is the root cause of the refugee crisis of the last two weeks. In the wake of the announcement, on 20 May, by Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand that they will offer temporary shelter to up to 7000 stateless Rohingya refugees and migrants from Bangladesh stranded in the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea, the Trust is concerned that the stateless Rohingya issue remains as far as ever from an acceptable solution.

London, April 17 2015

The Equal Rights Trust is accepting papers for the fifteenth edition of its Equal Rights Review (ERR), an interdisciplinary peer-reviewed journal on equality. Launched in 2008 and released bi-annually, the journal is a resource for those seeking to combat discrimination or promote equality globally.

London, 31st March 2015

"My line manager wrote in her referral, "K has reported that proprietary shampoos make the condition (eczema) worse and therefore she does not wash her hair very often. This is causing a significant odour and is not conducive to working within the team room" (...) The most malicious team member opened a window in a symbolic gesture, accused me of disrespecting the team, and said I had 'run out of excuses.'" - Testimony from a woman discriminated at work due to her association with Islam, The Equal Rights Review, Volume 14.

London, 11 March 2015

The Equal Rights Trust’s Dimitrina Petrova will address leading scholars and activists on how to achieve gender equality in nationality laws during a parallel event of the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)'s annual meeting this week.

London, 13 February 2015

On 10 January 2015, a member of the Migori County Assembly in Kenya was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for defiling (raping) a 13 year old girl. The Court found that Mr Lukas Masa Hura had abused the girl in May 2014, in a location within the County of which he was then a representative. The case is one of many examples of sexual abuse of women and girls that the Equal Rights Trust is seeking to address through its Comic Relief-funded Legal Assistance Scheme Project in Kenya. The victim in the case was supported by the community based organisation (CBO) Mira Residents Association, one of a number of CBOs across Kenya supported by the Equal Rights Trust and our partner, the Federation of Women Lawyers Kenya (FIDA Kenya) under the project.

London, 12 February 2015

On 27 January 2015, the European Court of Human Rights, in the case of Ciorcan and others v Romania, found that Romania violated the rights of a large group of Roma people who had been injured by police forces. The Court found violations of the rights to life (Article 2), freedom from inhuman treatment (Article 3) and freedom from discrimination (Article 14) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). These rights were violated by: (a) the “grossly excessive” deployment of special forces agents to carry out an arrest, agents who proceeded, amongst other things, to shoot “at random” into the crowd; and (b) the state’s failure to carry out an effective investigation, including its failure to comply with its obligation under Article 14 to investigate any racial motivation for the violence.

London, 05 February 2015
On 21 January 2015, the High Court of Justice of England and Wales held that the conduct of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (the SSCLG) in relation to certain planning decisions amounted to indirect discrimination against Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers. The SSCLG had a policy of personally determining appeals by travellers to develop sites on certain areas of protected land which led to significant delays in the hearing of those appeals. The Court concluded that the SSCLG had failed to have any regard to the equality implications of this practice, failing to meet his Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED). The significant delays also amounted to a violation of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

On 29 December 2014, the Russian government adopted Decree No. 1604 “On the list of medical contraindications, medical indications and medical restrictions to driving”. The decree potentially places restrictions on the ability of persons with specified medical conditions to obtain a driving licence. The Equal Rights Trust is concerned that this Decree discriminates on the basis of gender identity.
Decree No. 1604 was adopted in pursuance of Article 231 of the Federal Law “On Road Safety”, following its amendment in 2013.
London, 30 December 2014
On 18 December 2014, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued a preliminary ruling in a case of alleged discrimination on grounds of obesity, referred to it by a Danish court. Finding that no provisions of the EU Treaty nor of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU provided protection from discrimination on grounds of obesity as such, the Court nevertheless went on to clarify that prohibition of disability discrimination under EU Law might be relevant in some cases as some individuals with obesity might have a “disability” under EU Law.

London, 16 December 2014

On 2 December 2014, the Court of Justice of the European Union issued a preliminary ruling in the joined cases A, B, C v Staatssecretaris van Veiligheid en Justitie, providing guidance on the application of Article 4 of Directive 2004/83 in claims for asylum based on the sexual orientation of the applicants. The Court stated that Article 4 of the Directive, which sets out the conditions for the assessment of facts relating to an asylum claim, must be interpreted in compliance with the applicants’ rights to respect for human dignity and respect for family and private life (Articles 1 and 7 respectively of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union). Accordingly, the Court ruled, Article 4 precluded methods of assessment which are based only on stereotyped notions associated with homosexuals or include detailed questioning related to the sexual practices of the individual. The Court’s decision is to be welcomed, although the Equal Rights Trust is disappointed that the Court did not preclude all reliance on stereotypes in the assessment of asylum applications based on sexual orientation.