London, 8 January 2009

On 1 January 2009, the United States Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008 entered into force. The purpose of the Amendments Act is to restore the intent and protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA 1990). 

London 19 December 2008

On 18 December 2008, in New York, the UN General Assembly was presented with a statement endorsed by 66 states from around the world calling for an end to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The statement, read out by the UN Representative for Argentina Jorge Arguello, condemns violence, harassment, discrimination, exclusion, stigmatisation, and prejudice based on sexual orientation and gender identity. It also condemns killings and executions, torture, arbitrary arrest, and deprivation of economic, social, and cultural rights on those grounds.

As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 60 this Wednesday, international think-tank The Equal Rights Trust (ERT) is warning that, in a global recession, governments worldwide must put equality at the centre of human rights legislation or risk creating more marginalised ‘sub-human’ peoples, such as the Roma in Europe and lower castes in South Asia.

The launch of the Declaration of Principles on Equality, on 21 October 2008 in London, marked the beginning of a "Vote for Equality" campaign for its universal recognition. The Declaration should become the basis for a new covenant on equality in the 21st Century.

More than 120 of the world’s leading human rights and equality experts are today calling for the most radical re-think of equal rights in two generations as global economic turmoil holds nations in its grip.

Signatories from 44 nations are urging governments and individuals to back a new declaration – 60 years after the epoch-making Universal Declaration on Human Rights followed in the wake of World War II.

London, 3 September 2008

On 18 August 2008, the Supreme Court of California, in the case of North Coast Women’s Care Medical Care Group, Inc., et al., v. San Diego County Superior Court, S 142892. Ct. App. 4/1 D045438, rejected the argument that the right to religious freedom and free speech, as guaranteed by both federal and state law, exempted a medical clinic’s physicians from complying with the prohibition against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation set out in the California Unruh Civil Rights Act (the Act).

London, 21 July 2008

On 17 July 2008, the European Court of Justice passed judgment in the case of Coleman v. Attridge Law and Steve Law (Case C-303/06).  The judgment interprets the meaning of the prohibition of direct discrimination and harassment in employment and occupation on grounds of disability pursuant to Article 2(2)(a) and Article 2(3) of Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000.

On 10 July 2008, the European Court of Justice handed down the judgment in the case of Centrum voor gelijkheid van kansen en voor racismebestrijding v. Firma Feryn NY (Case C-54/07). The judgment interprets the meaning of direct discrimination based on Article 2 (2) (a) of Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 relating to the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin. 

On 27 June 2008, the Supreme Court of Canada handed down the decision in the case of R v Kapp, 2008 SCC 41. The case arose as an appeal against the federal government’s decision to enhance aboriginal involvement in commercial fishery which led to the Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy. 

Today the European Commission published a Proposal for a Council Directive to implement the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age, or sexual orientation. The proposed Council Directive will build upon Council Directive 2000/78/EC (The Employment Equality Directive) and will extend the protection from discrimination for millions of people across the European Union in areas including social security, healthcare, education and access to and supply of goods and services.