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

AuthorLatraverse, Sophie
a) Body/bodies designated for the promotion of equal treatment irrespective of
racial/ethnic origin according to Article 13 of the Racial Equality Directive
A specialised body has been designated for the promotion of equal treatment ir respective
of racial or ethnic origin according to Article 1 3 of the Racial Equality Directive. It is the
Defender of Righ ts (Défenseur des droits) established by In stitutional Act (loi organique)
No.2011-333 of 29 March 2011 pursuant to Article 71-1 of the Constitution.
It is a nominative institution personified by the individual appointed by th e Council of
Ministers as the Defender of Rights.
b) Political, economic and social context of the designated body
The Defender of Rights is a body that resulted from the merger of pre-existing bodies in
May 2011. It has been recognised for its activism and independence, taking due care to
explain its function within the French institutions as an indep endent advocate of rights
within its domain of competence.
It has made recommendations and made its voice heard before all public authorities,
Parliament and Government, whether in the context of legislative reform, public policies or
arguing the requirements of European Law before the Supreme Courts. Since 2011, it has
taken a firm stand on many policy issues, such as Roma rights, the rights of undocumented
migrants, enforcement of the state of emergency further to the terrorist attacks, reforms
of criminal procedure in relation to combating terrorism, protection of personal data, police
checks, equal pay, rights of transgender people and access to rights.
One can observe a willingness of respondents, public and private, to cooperate and a
continuous progression of requests for interventions by the Defender of Rights from
Members of Parliament, Government and the courts.343
Although the Defender of Rights’ position on specific subjects might n ot always receive
political support, to dat e such disagreements have not had an impact on governance or
given rise to interference from public authorities. There is no evidence of disproportionate
budgetary cutbacks.
Generally, popular debate and authorities are supportive of equality, diversity and the work
of the designated body.
c) Institutional architecture
In France, the designated body forms part of a body with multiple mandates.
The Defender of Rights integrated the former equality body, HALDE, into a new ,
constitutionally independent au thority (Article 2 of the Institutional Act), which merged a
number of pre-existing specialised bodies, from 1 May 2011.
It is competent in respect of all discrimination prohibited by French law and international
conventions ratified by France. As a result of the powers exercised by the former
Ombudsman (Médiateur de la République), the Defender of Rights is competent in matters
relating to illegal and unfair decisions taken by Government services and to the rights and
freedoms of users of public services. This extends the body’s competence to human rights,
public policy an d public services. In addition, it is competent in respect of defending and
343 Defender of Rights (2019), Rapport annuel d’activité 2018 (Annual report 2018), available at:

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