15 Years of Equality Bodies –
27 Years Austrian Ombud for Equal Treatment
Univ.-Prof.in Dr.in Silvia ULRICH
The implementation of the EU equal treatment Directives remains a significant challenge for Austria. Due to the federal structure, there is no uniform regulatory standard: there are more than 30 equal treatment and anti-discrimination laws differing in scope, sanctions and enforcement status. Thus, people exposed to discrimination face multiple problems in enforcing their rights. Human rights committees have criticized the complexity of the Austrian regulatory regime ever since.
The fragmentation is also evident in the institutional architecture: The equality bodies at federal and federal state level differ considerably regarding mandate, resources and procedural capacities. As EU Directives provide only for minimum standards, the revised General Policy Recommendation No. 2: EQUALITY BODIES TO COMBAT RACISM AND INTOLRANCE AT NATIONAL LEVEL is crucial to ensure a coherent institutional architecture. The Recommendation, adopted by the European Commission against Racism and lntolerance (ECRI) on December 2017, is a benchmark for the Austrian Equality Bodies regarding their mandate, independence and effectiveness. In my presentation, 1 will focus on the federal level, compare the status quo with the core principles of Rec. No. 2 and point out the need for reform in Austria.