Welcome to the official website for the Equality Coalition. We are a broad civil society alliance of NGOs and trade unions that aim to promote equality in Northern Ireland. Read more about our work in the About Us section.
LATEST FROM THE EQUALITY COALITION
Covid Conversations – Human Rights in a Pandemic
The Equality Coalition has formed a partnership with the Transitional Justice Institute and the Human Rights Consortium to hold a series of webinars designed to start important conversations about the human rights implications of the pandemic for people in Northern Ireland. All events will take place on Zoom. Click the links below to learn more or to register:
Social Insecurity? Claiming Benefits in a Pandemic – Thursday 17 September, 10am
Caring during the Pandemic – Thursday 24 September, 10am
Equality Proofing the Return to School – Briefing Paper
Published September 2020
The Covid-19 pandemic has had far reaching impacts on all aspects of NI society, not least education, with most pupils being withdrawn from school for five months due to the strict lockdown period and the subsequent summer break. As staff and students begin the new school term, we must ensure that their return to school is carried out in a way that is safe for everyone, with all decisions subjected to appropriate Section 75 assessment processes to ensure they promote equality of opportunity.
The Equality Coalition’s Education Sub-Group has put together a briefing paper to highlight to decision makers how to ‘equality proof’ the return to school. Download it here.
Joint statement on Covid-19
Published April 2020
The 90 members of the Equality Coalition have published a joint statement calling for political action to prevent the Covid-19 crisis from worsening inequalities in Northern Ireland. The statement urges the Northern Ireland Executive and all public authorities to fully discharge their Section 75 obligations to ensure policies developed in response to the pandemic actively promote equality of opportunity and don’t exacerbate inequalities.
Read the press statement here.
Commissioned by the Equality Coalition, independent researcher Dr Robbie McVeigh has authored a piece of research on contemporary sectarianism in Northern Ireland. Across 50 pages, Sectarianism: The Key Facts looks at ‘institutional sectarianism’ in NI – especially where there is evidence of sectarianism in decision-making.
The full report can be downloaded via this link.
A one-day conference was held on 13 October 2017 to explore, from a human rights perspective, when public authorities can or must act against speech and cultural expression in order to protect the rights of others. The event was organised by the Equality Coalition, with support from the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice. It was comprised of presentations, panel discussions and a series of afternoon workshops, all exploring different themes related to the legal framework (both local and international) on countering incitement to hatred.
From the proceedings of this conference, a comprehensive 90 page report has been published. Download it here.
In March 2019, the Equality Coalition, in partnership with BrexitLawNI, held a major conference on ‘Post-Brexit Citizenship Status: Divided by the Rules?’ in the Moot Court Room at Queen’s University Belfast. Featuring expert practioner and political panels, the conference explored how Brexit will transform the citizenship landscape in Northern Ireland and could lead to hardened entitlement boundaries between different groups of citizens here.
A 60 page report has been produced from the proceedings of the conference. You can download a digital version of the report here. Hard copies are available upon request by emailing email@example.com or calling 028 9031 6000.
Response to consultation on ECNI’s complaints and investigation procedures Published May 2019
The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI) has been reviewing and revising the procedures related to its enforcement (investigation) powers. These powers enable ECNI to investigate public bodies that fail to comply with their Section 75 duties. In March 2019, ECNI launched a public consultation on its (draft) ‘Revised Policy and Procedures for Complaints and Investigations’. The Equality Coalition responded to this consultation with a detailed written submission, which raises several issues that we strongly urge ECNI to rectify.
Submission available for download here.
Manifesto for a Rights Based Return to Power Sharing
Published April 2019
More than two years have elapsed since the devolved power sharing institutions provided for under the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) collapsed in Northern Ireland. Additionally, many of the rights based commitments of the peace settlement, including those originally designed as to act as safeguards on the NI Executive and Assembly, remain unimplemented or have been misimplemented. Fresh cross-party talks to restore power sharing have been announced for May 2019. However, there is little point in restoring the institutions only for them to fail to deliver and collapse again for the same reasons. Conscious of this, the Equality Coalition has developed a ‘Manifesto for a Rights Based Return to Power Sharing’.
Follow this link to download the manifesto. An Irish language version has also been published, with help from Conradh na Gaeilge. A larger font version in either language is available upon request – email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 028 9031 6000.
Independent researcher Dr Robbie McVeigh was commissioned by the Equality Coalition to explore incitement to hatred in the Northern Ireland context. There is copious evidence of hatred in NI – particularly racism, sectarianism and homophobia – which sometimes manifests itself in instances of ‘hate crime’. Moreover, there is ample evidence of incitement to hatred as it is characterised in international human rights standards. Dr McVeigh’s report examines the scale of the current problem, as well as how effectively it is being dealt with by public authorities and the justice system.
Download the report here.
Notwithstanding significant pockets of good practice, it has been a strategic concern of the Equality Coalition for some time that the Section 75 equality duty is being regularly flaunted by many public authorities. This report examines the current situation and makes recommendations to improve adherence to the statutory equality duties going forwards.