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

AuthorFavilli, Chiara
Pages57-63
57
7 BODIES FOR THE PROMO TION OF EQ UAL TREATMENT (Article 13 Directive
2000/43)
a) Body/bodies desi gnated for the prom otion of equal treatment irresp ective of
racial/ethnic origin according to Article 13 of the Racial Equalit y Directive
The requirement to introduce a body for the promotion of equal treatment is covered in
Article 7 of Legislative Decree 215/2003, transposing Directive 2000/43/EC. The decree
establishes an ‘offi ce’ within the Department for Equal Opportuni ties of the Presidency of
the Council of Ministers. According to Article 7 (1), the promotion of equal treatment and
the elimination of any sort of d iscrimination on grounds of racial and ethnic origin are the
general and exclusi ve tasks of the office. UNAR’s remit has b een extended to cover all
grounds of discrimination by a ministerial directive (an internal act of the Government
assessing the sp ecific tasks of each Government department) issued in 2010 an d
renewed in 2012. It i s not clear i f this extension will be confirmed by the next
Government.
The director of the office is app ointed by the Prime Minister or by a minister on his behalf
(Article 7(4) of Legislative Decree 215/2003). Its internal organisation i s set out by a
Prime Minister’s Decree adopted on 11 December 2003 (Costituzione e organizzazione
interna dell’Ufficio per la promozione della parità di trattamento e la rimozione delle
discriminazioni, di cui all’art. 29 della legge comunitaria marzo 2002, n. 39). The
office fulfils two services: one devoted to a ctions against discrimination; the other
devoted to research and relations with other institutions.
According to Article 3 of the Decree, 21 offici als shall be employed, including one general
executive, one executive for each service and 18 officials. Moreover, other officials may
be recruited, seconded either from other Prime Minister’s departments (up to a maximum
of fi ve), or from other Go vernment departmen ts. This includes judges, state attorneys,
experts and ad visers without civil servant status (up to a maximum of five) (Art icle 7(5)
of Legislative Decree 215/2003). Currently, none of the three di rectors is officially in
post, a nd only two external experts are working at UNAR. In Ja nuary, the Government
appointed Luigi Manconi, currently an MP and previously a professor of sociology, who
has written books on racism, as General Director. He took office on 24 March 2018, when
he was no longer an MP, fulfilling the role without remuneration .
UNAR’s competences include assistance to victims of discrimination in pursuing their
complaints in judicial or administrative proceedings and surveys on discrimination, but
without infringing on the prerogatives of the judicial auth orities.
b) Political, economic and social context for the designated body
In Italy, there is a general lack of interest regarding the equality body and regarding
bodies dealing with human rights i n general. No independent body has been designat ed
to deal with discrimination (not even on the grounds of gender) or hum an rights. On the
contrary, there appears to be sharp hostility, judging from recurring questions asked by
Members of Parliament to t he Government, sometimes including requests to close UNAR
or to limit its remit to race and ethnic origin, as required by Legislative Decree 215/20 03.
There is no evidence o f a popular debate on the designated body, which is not even
known about by most people, even those who are more supportive of equality and
diversity. UNAR took c entre stage in the national media only recently, when a scandal on
its allocation of funding was discovered, in addition to one previous occasion when an MP
reacted to a letter sent by UNA R’s director asking for more balanced speeches when
dealing with migrants. As far as equality and diversity i n general are concerned, the
popular debate has m ostly been influenced by hostility against migrants. In particular,
there is an increasing trend to link crimes commit ted by migrants to the general policy

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