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Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights talks equality in Brussels

“Complacency regarding discrimination continues to lead to the suffering of hundreds of millions of people around the world, including within the borders of the European Union,” said the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kyung-wha Kang  speaking to representatives from the European Union and Member states, European Union Institutions and Social Partners at the IV Equality Summit meeting in Brussels, she added “this not only violates a most basic human right, but has wider social and economic consequences.”   .

Deputy High Commissioner addresses summit on equality in employment © Belga news agency Kang said that “No setbacks should be allowed. On the contrary, in times of such economic hardship, maintaining the emphasis on non-discrimination is more relevant than ever because members of the most disadvantaged and stigmatized groups risk suffering the most: being the first to lose their jobs and the last to regain them.” She also encouraged the European Union to go ahead and adopt the broad non-discrimination directive, covering discrimination on grounds of disability, age, religion and sexual orientation, as proposed by the European Commission in 2008.

Kang highlighted that many Roma across Europe continue to experience a vicious circle of prejudice, stigmatization and social exclusion, and added, “this is also a situation encountered by many women, particularly those who are employed as domestic workers, and of persons with disabilities. Efforts should concentrate on giving full effect to the innovative provisions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by individual European countries, as well as by the European Union.”

This Summit, co-organized by the Belgian Presidency and the European Commission, opened brought together around 500 high-level representatives of the Member States, of candidate countries, European Free Trade Association countries, social partners, equality bodies, European NGOs, and representatives of international organizations. Ms. Joelle Milquet, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Employment and Equal Opportunities from the Government of Belgium, Ms. Viviane Reding, Vice President of the European Commission, and Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship provided the opening remarks. The Summit was held on the 15-16 November 2010.

The focus of Human Rights Day 10 December 2010 is discrimination and the role of human rights defenders.

Read the entire text of the Deputy High Commissioner’s address.

16 November 2010