Bodies for the promotion of equal treatment (article 13 directive 2000/43)

AuthorKarin de Vries
a) Body/bodies design ated for the promotion of equal treatment irrespective of
racial/ethnic origin according to Article 13 of the Racial Equality Directive
In the Netherlands, there are two types of equality body. First, there is a quasi-judicial (or
tribunal type) body assigned with the tasks of hearing complaints about unequal treatment,
drafting reports, giving advice to the Government and investigating possible instances of
structural discrimination on its own accord. The material scope of the Netherlands Institute
for Human Rights (NIHR) (College voor de rechten van de mens) mandate covers all areas
covered by the General Equal Treatment Act (GETA), the Disability Discrimination Act
(DDA) and the Age Discrimination Act (ADA), that is grosso modo employment and goods
and services. This function is currently fulfilled by a department of the NIHR.295 In 2012,
the NIHR assumed all the tasks of the former Equal Treatment Commission (ETC)
(Commissie Gelijke Behandeling, CGB) in this regard.296 The ETC was the first officially
designated body through which the Government implemented Article 13 of the Racial
Equality Directive, although it was not officially appointed as such by a separate law or
decree.297 The status a s an equality body follows from the tasks given to the NIHR in the
NIHR Act (Articles 9-13 of the NIHR Act; originally Articles 11-21 of the GETA). Other equal
treatment acts also assign these tasks to the NIHR (see Article 12 DDA and Article 14
ADA). On the basis of the NIHR Act, decr ees have been adopted in order to regulate the
legal status of members of the Institute and its staff298 and the internal procedures of the
department of the NIHR that deals with complaints about unequal treat ment.299
The Dutch Government established the NIHR af ter long discussions about the best way to
implement the Paris Principles.300 The role of the former ETC regarding investigating
complaints is fully integrated into the new NIHR and as such has not been changed. The
establishment of the Institute also does not change the competences of the ADVs (see
below) as regards thei r role in assisting victims. The role of assisting victims was never
part of the ETC’s work and is not part of the work of the NIHR, because it is deemed to be
incompatible with the role of independently issuing legal opinions about discrimination
complaints. The NIHR refers victims to the Anti-Discrimination Facilities (see below) for
such assistance. In addition to the nine members of the previous ETC, three additional
members were appointed to the NIHR.
The first evaluation of the functioning of the NIHR (covering 2012-2017) was po sitive. Of
particular relevance for this report is the conclusion that its semi-judicial role regarding
295 Act of 24 November 2011 containing the establishment of the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights (Wet
van 24 november 2011, houdende de oprichting van het College voor de rechten van de mens); Staatsblad
2011, 573. The Act entered into force on 1 October 2012.
296 The provisions of the General Equal Treatment Act in which the former ETC was regulated were repealed in
the NIHR Act. Instead, the same tasks and authorities are now regulated in a specific chapter of the NIHR
Act: ‘Chapter 2: Investigations and findings relating to equal treatment’ (Articles 9-13).
297 This designation follows from statements from the government in various Parliamentary papers. See e.g.
Explanatory Memorandum to the bill which led to the EG-Implementatiewet Awgb (EC Implementation law
Equal Treatment Law) Tweede Kamer, 2002-2003, 28 770, nos. 1-3 at page 20, where it is mentioned in
the Appendix, at page 20, that the implementation of Article 13 of the Racial Equality Directive has already
been completed because of the existence in the Netherlands of the ETC (EG Implementatiewet Awgb: Law
of 21 February 2004, Staatsblad 2004, 119).
298 Decree on the Legal position of the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights (Besluit van 28 augustus 2012,
houdende regels over de rechtspositie van de leden van het College voor de rechten van de mens en de tot
het bureau behorende ambtenaren (Besluit rechtspositie College voor de rechten van de mens)), Staatsblad
2012, 389.
299 Decree working method investigation equal treatment (Besluit van 31 augustus 2012, houdende nadere
regels over de werkwijze van de afdeling, bedoeld in hoofdstuk 2 van de Wet College voor de rechten van
de mens (Besluit werkwijze onderzoek gelijke behandeling), Staatsblad 2012, 394.
300 Principles relating to the Status of National Institutions Adopted by UN General Assembly resolution 48/134
of 20 December 1993.

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