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European Court for Human Rights publishes guide to European anti-discrimination law

Strasbourg, 21.3.2011 17:59, (ROMEA)

The European Court for Human Rights and the EU Fundamental Rights Agency have issued the following press release:

Today, in honor of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the European Court for Human Rights is releasing its first-ever comprehensive guide to anti-discrimination law in Europe. The handbook is a joint publication of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) and the European Court for Human Rights (ECtHR).

The handbook is based on the case-law of the ECtHR and the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ). It covers the history and context of European anti-discrimination law (including UN human rights conventions), the legal category of discrimination and the means for defending against it, and materials on the extent of the law's scope (including those protected by it) and the kinds of discrimination it protects against, such as discrimination on the basis of sex, medical disability, age, race and nationality.

The handbook is intended for and will be distributed to legal professionals at the level of the EU Member States. The target audience includes judges, state prosecutors, attorneys, penal authority staffs and other interested persons who provide legal counseling, such as domestic human rights authorities, equality authorities, and legal advice centers.

The handbook is available on-line for downloading (see www.fra.europa.eu). There is also an accompanying CD-ROM available which includes the relevant legal regulations, expert literature, case studies and summaries of case law. The handbook is available in English, French and German. Versions in Bulgarian, Czech, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Romanian and Spanish will soon be available, which means the material will eventually be available in almost all the official EU languages, as well as Croatian.

The handbook was launched today at a seminar for attorneys and judges at the ECtHR. Speaking at the seminar, the chair of the court said: "This handbook will improve access to justice for victims of discrimination throughout Europe. It describes a complex system of rules in a comprehensible, simple way. It is significant that this successful joint work is seeing the light of day at the very moment when we are preparing for the European Union to accede to the European Convention on Human Rights.”

The director of FRA, Morten Kjaerum, said: "This handbook is a practical tool to help people in their disputes at the level of the Member States, because the real administration of the law takes place that level. Resolving disputes at a level that is as close to the victims as possible has several advantages - it is less costly, less demanding in terms of time, and less stressful."

Two additional meetings were also scheduled to be held as part of today's seminar at the ECtHR. One is on the problems and successes related to European anti-discrimination law, and the other is on applying European anti-discrimination principles at the level of individual states.

Gwendolyn Albert, tisková zpráva, Joint press release of the European Court for Human Rights and the EU Fundamental Rights Agency, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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