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Discrimination = a difference prohibited by law in the treatment of people in defined, comparable situations on grounds of different race, ethnic origin, nationality, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, belief, religion and opinions.
The Public Defender of Rights has been a national equality body pursuant to the law and applicable directives of the European Union (e.g. 2000/43/EC, 2000/78/EC etc.) since 2009. The provision of sec. 21b of Act on the Public Defender of Rights stipulates: The Defender shall contribute to promotion of the right to equal treatment of all persons regardless of their race or ethnic origin, nationality, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, belief or opinions.
To comply with the statutory requirements for the protection of persons against discrimination and promotion of the right to equal treatment, the Department of Equal Treatment was established within the Office of the Public Defender of Rights. The Department has 5 employees and two regular collaborators – undergraduates of the Faculty of Law of Masaryk University.
The activity of the Public Defender of Rights as an equality body rests on 3 pillars:
Within the first pillar to inform the Defender makes recommendations and statements and carries out research in the area of equal treatment. Recommendations are intended for the general public; they comment on specific manifestations of discrimination in the society and contain recommendations on how to prevent such acts. Statements serve the same purpose as recommendations but they are intended for the expert public. They contain more complex legal argumentation, references to judicial decisions etc. The principal activity within the pillar to inform is to carry out research concerning questions related to the problem of discrimination.
Within the second pillar to educate the Defender carries out a number of educational activities, including thematic seminars, workshops and trainings intended for non-profit organisations, state administration, employees and providers of services. In collaboration with the Faculty of Law of Masaryk University, the Defender is the head of “the Anti-discrimination Law Clinic” – courses for students enrolled in the Law and Legal Science programme of study.
Regarding activities of the Defender in the area of fighting discrimination, the third pillar – to assist the victims of discrimination – is crucial. Every person has the right to address the Defender with his or her problem related to discrimination free of charge. The Defender addresses the case from the legal point of view, states whether discrimination occurred according to his observations and makes suggestions on a possible further course of action. Hereby the task entrusted to the Defender pursuant to the provision of sec. 21b (a) is fulfilled; The Defender shall provide methodical assistance to victims of discrimination in lodging their proposals for commencement of proceedings concerning discrimination. In providing methodical assistance the Defender collaborates with non-profit organisations Pro bono aliance and The Czech Bar Association .
Regarding the right to equal treatment and protection against discrimination:
The vision of the Defender: Society knowledgeable about discrimination. In such society discrimination occurs only sporadically.
The mission of the Defender: An efficient assisting body for equal treatment and serious inclusion of the issue of discrimination in a society-wide discussion. Information and educational activities lead to successful inclusion.
In case of any queries related to discrimination, please contact lawyers from the Department of Equal Treatment – more information is provided in Contacts.