Row of EU flags
27 Aug 2021

ENNHRI submits contribution to consultation on EU binding standards on national equality bodies

Around half of the NHRIs in the EU are multi-mandated institutions with an equality body mandate. Moreover, with their broad mandate to promote and protect human rights, all NHRIs contribute to equality and non-discrimination and cooperate with equality bodies when they are separate institutions. In this context, ENNHRI has made a submission on EU binding standards for national equality bodies (NEBs).

This submission comes in response to a call for feedback on the roadmap issued by the European Commission. The roadmap includes ENNHRI as a main stakeholder in the consultation on binding standards for NEBs.

ENNHRI’s submission outlines three main recommendations to EU law-makers for inclusion within binding EU legislation on equality bodies:

  1. Adopt robust EU standards on equality bodies’ powers, independence, resources and effectiveness.
  2. Recognise and increase the powers of multi-mandated equality bodies.
  3. Encourage equality bodies to cooperate with other equality and Human Rights Defenders, including NHRIs and their network, ENNHRI.

ENNHRI recommends that, at a minimum, robust EU standards on equality bodies should include both adequate powers and funding to effectively promote and protect equality on all grounds, alongside formal and functional independence guarantees for equality bodies.

EU legislation should further ensure that, when equality bodies are multi-mandated institutions, the competences and powers attached to all mandates in such institutions are harmonised and increased. At the same time, it should ensure there are sufficient resources to carry out each of the mandates.

In addition, EU legislation should require Member States to take into account the Paris Principles when establishing and strengthening these institutions. This includes the minimum standards applicable on the mandate, functions, independence, pluralism and effectiveness of NHRIs.

Finally, ENNHRI highlights the need for EU legislation to encourage equality bodies to cooperate regularly and effectively with other equality and Human Rights Defenders, including NHRIs and ENNHRI. Furthermore, such legislation should require the provision of necessary financial means, staff and institutional capacity for equality bodies to engage in such cooperation.

The Commission is planning to adopt binding EU legislation on minimum standards for equality bodies by the fourth quarter of 2022.

>> Download our submission on EU binding standards for equality bodies