Bodies for the promotion of equal treatment (Article 13 Directive 2000/43)

AuthorKaran, Ula?
a) Body/bodies designated for the promotion of equal treatment irrespective of
racial/ethnic origin according to Article 13 of the Racial Equality Directive
Pursuant to the Law on the Human Rights and Equality Institution of Turkey, Turkey has a
‘specialised body’ for the promotion of equal treatment irrespective of racial or ethnic origin
which, however, is not in accordance with Article 13 of the Racial Equality Directive. The
new equality body was set up and its members were appointed in March 2017, and
secondary legislation regarding its anti-discrimination powers was adopted in November
The Ombudsman Institution, which was established in June 2012 with a mandate for
receiving complaints concerning general human rights issues and disability, partially fulfils
the requirements of the Racial Equality Directive.
b) Political, economic and social context of the designated body
On 11 January 2016, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister announced the decision to establish
a national equality body in response to the EU’s condition for visa liberalisation included in
its refugee deal with Turkey. The equality body was established pursuant to the Law on
the Human Rights and Equality Institution of Turkey, which was adopted on 6 April 2016.355
The establishment of the Institution drew criticism from local human rights groups from
the outset. Citing the UN Paris Principles, which require that civil society participate in the
preparatory work for the establishment of national equality bodies, human rights NGOs
criticised the Government for drafting the law ‘behind closed doors’ from an instrumental
perspective, ‘in exchange for the visa exemption’, without the knowledge and participation
of civil society.356 Following the finalisation of the draft without any consideration of their
criticisms, human rights organisations issued a second press release. Recalling that the
now defunct Human Rights Institution of Turkey had already been criticised by the
European Commission,357 the Council of Europe and the United Nations358 for its lack of
independence from the executive branch, the election procedure of its members and the
355 Law on the Human Rights and Equality Institution of Turkey, No. 6701, 6 April 2016.
356 Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, Human Rights Association, Association of Human Rights and Solidarity
with the Oppressed, Helsinki Citizens Assembly, Human Rights Agenda Association, Human Rights Studies
Association and Amnesty International Turkey Branch (joint statement), ‘Government Statement regarding
the Establishment of the Human Rights and Equality Institution of Turkey: The Issue of the
Institutionalisation of Human Rights is Perceived Fully from an Instrumental Perspective’, 18 January 2016,
available at:
357 In its 2019 report, the European Commission noted that it is not ‘operationally, structurally or financially
independent, and their members are not appointed in compliance with the Paris Principles. So far, the
NHREI has not applied for accreditation with the relevant International Coordinating Committee (ICC) of
National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights. Turkey should urgently ensure that
any and all cases of alleged human rights violations are effectively dealt with and processed, and that these
bodies fully comply with the Paris Principles and the European Commission Recommendation on Standards
for Equality Bodies, adopted on 22 June 2018.’ European Commission (2019), Turkey 2019 Report,
Brussels, p. 29, available at:
358 In its submission for Turkey’s universal periodic review, the UN Country Team (UNCT) pointed out that the
Human Rights Institution of Turkey had not requested accreditation from the International Coordinating
Committee of National Human Rights Institutions and that the law establishing the Institution fell short of
the Paris Principles. The UNCT also recommended legal amendment ‘so as to guarantee the organic and
financial independence’ of the Institution. See Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (2014),
Compilation prepared in accordance with paragraph 15(b) of the annex to Human Rıghts Council resolution
5/1 and paragraph 5 of the annex to Council resolution 16/21: Turkey, submitted to the UN Human Rights
Council Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review 21st session: 19-30 January 2015, p. 4, available

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