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Polish Presidency at the EU: The letter to the Prime Minister and video campaign on equal treatment

Polish Presidency at the EU: The letter to the Prime Minister and video campaign on equal treatment

2011-07-22

A conference of representatives of the Coalition for Equal Opportunities was held on July 19th, during which a letter from over 40 Polish organizations to the Prime Minister Donald Tusk was presented.

The letter pointed out to lack activities in the field of equal treatment among the priorities of the Polish presidency of the EU. The Coalition presented a spot on equal treatment titled “Stop discrimination”.

The conference was attended by Krzysztof Śmiszek – the president of PTPA and coordinator of the Coalition for Equal Opportunities, Robert Biedroń and Tomasz Szypuła of KPH, Joanna Piotrowska - chairwoman of Feminoteka and Małgorzata Peretiatkowicz Czyż - TUS Foundation board member. The conference discussed the lack of policy on equal treatment in the Polish EU Presidency, as well as the lack of any coordination on the part of the Plenipotentiary for Equal Treatment - Elżbieta Radziszewska of over 40 organizations affiliated to the Coalition.

The coalition also sent a letter to Prime Minister Donald Tusk, calling for serious treatment of the issue of anti-discriminatory actions on the EU forum, including continuing work on a project of so-called horizontal anti-discrimination directive and the directive on preventing violence. The Coalition called for more active governmental involvement in preparation of the Equality Summit, which is to be held in November in Poznan and to develop a comprehensive equality policy in Europe in times of economic crisis.

During the conference a spot of Coalition for Equal Opportunities was presented, showing the need for greater protection in the field of equal treatment, especially due to disability, age, race and sexual orientation. The film for the Campaign Against Homophobia (Member of the Coalition) had been produced by AgRafka Film with the support of embassies of the Netherlands and Sweden.

The media patronage over the campaign was taken by oognet Internet TV and NEXT.

The spot of the Coalition for Equal Opportunities titled "Stop discrimination" was produced by AgRafka Film.

Warsaw, July 19th 2011

Prime Minister
of the Republic of Poland
Donald Tusk

Al. Ujazdowskie 1/3
00 - 583 Warsaw

On behalf of the Coalition for Equal Opportunities, an informal platform for more than 40 NGOs and trade unions to combat discrimination, promote equality and human rights, in connection with the Polish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, we make an appeal to the Prime Minister to undertake decisive actions in the field of equality.

Carefully analyzing the plan of activities and priorities for the Polish presidency which are to guide the government headed by the Prime Minister, we are surprised to notice a lack of clearly highlighted issues concerning the prevention of discrimination on grounds such as sex, race and ethnicity, age, disability, religion and beliefs or sexual orientation.

We would like to call attention to the fact that equality and non discrimination are the cornerstones of the activities of the European Union and countries participating in the European project. The significance of these issues is represented in the number of regulations both at the treaty level and of the directives which explicitly prohibit unequal treatment on the basis of the above-mentioned reasons.

As NGOs and trade unions who have been dealing with issues of anti-discrimination for years, we consider it essential that during the presidency led by Poland, intensified work on the following EU legal acts and actions is to be performed:

  1. The horizontal anti-discrimination directive, proposed back in 2008 during the French presidency. The draft prohibits discrimination on the basis of age, sexual orientation, disability, religion and belief of in areas such as access to services and goods, education, health care and social security. The extreme importance of the project stems from the fact that it meets the standards set by the equality treaties and puts an end to so-called hierarchy of protection against discrimination, much criticized by the European community. It should be stressed that the draft directive proposed by the European Commission was met with very strong support given by both the European NGOs working for disadvantaged groups, as well as by the European Parliament through the adoption of the so-called Buitenweg Report on April 2, 2009. Therefore, the Polish government should take advantage of the continuing favorable climate in Europe for this initiative and persuade other governments to support the project.
  2. The European Equality Summit - the paramount meeting of the EU community dedicated to the issues of equality and non discrimination. The representatives of EU institutions, member state governments, academics and civil society - NGOs, trade unions, employers´ organizations in order to jointly assess the status of implementation of equality standards, share the most successful practices and propose new solutions. We wish to emphasize that the event, which is to take place during Polish presidency, should give the opportunity to highlight the Polish government´s commitment and determination in the implementation of EU principle of anti-discrimination. Until now, the detailed program of the Summit is not known, as well as the list of priorities which will be discussed during the meeting.
  3. Equality in times of economic crisis. It seems that this should be a major issue during the Polish presidency. The continuing economic crisis in particular affects the groups exposed to discrimination - women, people with disabilities, racial and ethnic minorities, migrants, older people. Moreover, investments in equality policy have been often drastically reduced due precisely to the economic crisis. It is crucial that during the Polish presidency effective methods of preventing this undesirable phenomenon are developed.
  4. The EU strategies on gender equality and for people with disabilities. The recently adopted EU´s long-term strategies should be the object of careful observation and monitoring by the Polish presidency in order to bring specific and tangible results.
  5. Directive on the prevention of violence against women -
 initiative of the Spanish Presidency. Thanks to the efforts of the Spanish Presidency the European Parliament urged the European Commission to work on drafting a proposal for a directive on this issue. It is an extremely important and necessary step, because the prevention of violence against women is a prerequisite for achieving equality. We wish that the work on this extremely important initiative is continued during the Polish presidency.

We hope that the demands outlined above will be on the agenda of actions taken by the Polish government during the presidency of the European Union and will bring specific results, much awaited by the European community.

Undersigned:
Polish Society of Anti-Discrimination Law (PSAL)
Feminoteka Foundation
Association against anti-Semitism and xenophobia “Open republic”
Campaign Against Homophobia (KPH)
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights
Lambda Warszawa Association
Amnesty International
Lambda Bydgoszcz Association
Education of Anti-discrimination Association
Equality Foundation
Karat Coalition
Trans-Fuzja Foundation
Polish Federation for Women and Family Planning
MaMa Foundation
Women´s Space Foundation
Autonomy Foundation
Active Women Association
Independent Initiative Association MIKUSZEWO
Homo Faber
“Victoria” Association for Women
"Never Again"  Association
Women Association “Console”
FORUM 50+
TUS Foundation
Legal Intervention Association
Podkarpacki Institute
Polish Disability Forum
Disabled Women Association
Czulent Jewish Association
Association for Civil Society Development PRO HUMANUM
Roma People Association in Poland
„The Diversity Workshop” Association for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer persons
"Toward the girls" Association
“Polistrefa” Foundation for Diversity
Social Initiatives Foundation ´Się Zrobi!´
The Polish Jews Forum
Non-discrimination Foundation
Our Space Foundation
Local Knowledge Foundation
"Vis Maior" Foundation
Union of Polish Teachers
“Szalony wózkowicz” Friends Association

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