To mark the 75th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Equal Rights Trust has brought together a group of national equality organisations and coalitions from across the globe to issue a call for a "decade of action on equality and non-discrimination". The Trust and ten national equality organisations are calling on states to prioritise the enactment of comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation.
The call to action was developed in response to the “push for pledges” launched by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, seeking pledges from states, civil society and other stakeholders making concrete commitments to advancing human rights to mark the anniversary of the Declaration. It is signed by equality organisations and coalitions in 10 countries which are actively working to promote the adoption of comprehensive anti-discrimination laws in their respective countries - Federación Argentina LGBT+, Argentina; Non-Discrimination and Equality Coalition, Armenia; Nagorik Uddyog, Bangladesh; Defensoria Pública da União, Brazil; Alliance of Iraqi Minorities Network, Iraq; International Movement Against all forms of Discrimination and Racism, Japan; Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law, Kazakhstan; South Korean Coalition for Anti-discrimination Legislation, Republic of Korea; Coalition for Equality, Kyrgyzstan and Stop the Discrimination Coalition, the Philippines. In addition to calling on states to prioritise anti-discrimination law reform, the signatories pledge to work for the adoption of comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation in their own states.
The statement notes that while the Universal Declaration opens with the proclamation that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”, 75 years on from its adoption “more than half of the countries in the world do not have laws which provide effective and comprehensive protection from all forms of discrimination, on all grounds and in all areas of life”. It goes on to call on “all states which have yet to develop comprehensive anti-discrimination laws to do so [and those] which are in the process of developing these laws to accelerate this process”.
The pledge notes that the United Nations Practical Guide to Developing Comprehensive Anti-Discrimination Legislation, developed in partnership with the Equal Rights Trust, states, unequivocally, that UN member states must enact and implement comprehensive anti-discrimination laws, and sets out the necessary elements of such laws. On Human Rights Day 2022, the High Commissioner for Human Rights called on states to use this Guide to “renew and reinforce their commitments to the equal enjoyment of human rights through enacting, enforcing and implementing comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation”.
The Trust invites equality activists, organisations and coalitions to sign the pledge and pledges our support to all those working to promote the adoption of comprehensive anti-discrimination laws.