sábado, fevereiro 03, 2007

2007 - Ano Europeu da igualdade de oportunidades para todos

Why this 2007 European Year?

The European Union (EU) has every reason to be proud of its anti-discrimination legislation, one of the most extensive in the world. In 2000, the European Union adopted two very wide-ranging laws to prohibit discrimination based on racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation in the workplace and, as far as racial and ethnic origin is concerned, in other aspects of daily life. These texts build on the extensive provisions at EU level to promote equality between women and men.

However, calling for equal rights and adopting laws to try and guarantee them is not enough to ensure that equal opportunities are enjoyed by everyone in practice. Incentives have to be given to bring about a change in behaviour and mentality. Steps also have to be taken to tackle the intricate patterns of inequality suffered by certain groups and communities in Europe, such as the Roma, while examining the roots of these problems. Finally, we have to acknowledge that our societies are changing. Examples of this are the EU's ageing population and its increasingly multiethnic makeup. The ever-growing diversity sets new challenges that we have to meet more effectively, while offering myriad opportunities that we have to seize.

The 2007 European Year of Equal Opportunities for All is an initiative leading the way to a bolder strategy seeking to give momentum to the fight against discrimination in the EU, as the Commission explained in a document, published in June 2005, called ' Framework strategy for non-discrimination and equal opportunities for all'. During the Year, all discrimination grounds have to be treated in a balanced way and the different ways in which women and men experience discrimination on the grounds of sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation have to be considered as well.

The Year aims to:

  • make people more aware of their rights to enjoy equal treatment and a life free of discrimination – irrespective of sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age and sexual orientation
  • promote equal opportunities for all
  • launch a major debate on the benefits of diversity both for European societies and individuals

Activities during the Year will be organised around four key objectives: rights, representation, recognition and respect:

  • Rights – Raising awareness on the right to equality and non-discrimination and on the problem of multiple discrimination
  • Representation – Stimulating debate on ways to increase the participation of groups in society which are victims of discrimination and a balanced participation of men and women
  • Recognition – facilitating and celebrating diversity and equality
  • Respect – Promoting a more cohesive society

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