In the United Kingdom, a Parliamentary Public Bill Committee has begun the process of scrutinizing the Equality Bill which was published on 24 April 2009. The Equality Bill seeks to simplify the law which, over the last four decades, has become complex and difficult to navigate, by replacing nine different acts and 100 other measures in a single act. 

The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (the Committee) adopted General Comment No. 20 on Non-Discrimination in Economic, Social and Cultural Rights at its 42nd session, which took place from 4 – 22 May 2009. The General Comment is the Committee’s interpretation of Article 2(2) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). Article 2(2) states:

London, 13 May 2009

The Equal Rights Trust has today joined 129 other NGOs from around the world in calling upon the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to hold a Special Session on the current human rights catastrophe in Sri Lanka, as a matter of urgent concern.

London 12 May 2009

Thomas Hammarberg, Commissioner for Human Rights, Council of Europe, has endorsed the comprehensive approach to equality adopted in the Declaration of Principles on Equality, as the solution to the ‘major political and ideological challenge’ presented by the world economic crisis.

The Equal Rights Trust (ERT), an independent international organisation whose purpose is to combat discrimination and promote equality as a fundamental human right and a basic principle of social justice, welcomes the Durban Review Conference (DRC) as an important opportunity to examine the progress made towards fulfilling the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance Declaration and Programme of Action and to develop the commitments set out in this document.

On 26 March 2009 the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia voted to approve the Anti-Discrimination Bill (the Bill) submitted by the Government. The vote marked the end of an 8 year process which had begun with the first draft of the Bill in 2001. The new law prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, sexual orientation, gender or other grounds.

5 March 2009

On 5 March 2009, the European Court of Justice held that article 6(1) of Council Directive 2000/78/EC did not make compulsory retirement ages unlawful in the case of The Incorporated Trustees of the National Council on Ageing (Age Concern England) v. Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, Case C-388/07. 

27 Febuary 2009

On 27 February 2009, the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation decided its first case concerning regulations and procedures for assessing legal capacity, one of the key issues affecting people with mental disabilities and their participation on an equal basis with others in exercising basic human rights.

On 18 February 2009, the European Court of Human Rights (the Court) handed down the judgment in the case of Andrejeva v. Latvia (Application no. 55707/00). The applicant, Ms. Natalija Andrejeva, claimed a violation of Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights (prohibition of discrimination) in conjunction with Article 1 of Protocol No.1 (right to peaceful enjoyment of possessions) and Article 6 (right to fair trial).

Today, on the inaugural World Day of Social Justice, The Equal Rights Trust (ERT) wrote to Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, welcoming the event as an important step to raise awareness on social inequality, poverty and the widening gap between the most and the least advantaged globally. In the letter ERT appealed to the Secretary-General to promote the Declaration of Principles on Equality and to recommend it to relevant UN organisations and agencies.