Equality watchdog to be given more powers, wider remit

Jeremy Micallef Saturday, 2 February 2019, 09:40 Last update: about 58 minutes ago

Discussions are being held to elevate the National Commission for the Protection of Equality (NCPE) to a position where it answers to Parliament, sources in the Ministry of Equality have informed this newspaper.

The NCPE’s mission statement is to ensure that Maltese society is a society free from any form of discrimination based on sex or gender and family responsibilities, sexual orientation, age, religion or belief, racial or ethnic origin, and gender identity, gender expression or sex characteristics in employment; banks and financial institutions, as well as education.

It also focuses on discrimination based on racial or ethnic origin and gender in the provision of goods and services and their supply; and freedom of movement for workers in the EU.

The issue was raised with the Commissioner of the NCPE Renee Laiviera, in an interview that will be published tomorrow in The Malta Independent on Sunday.

The Commissioner seconded this and explained that they have been working on this for the last four to five years. Laiviera is referring to the Equality Act from 2015.

“We even had interlocutors from the EU commission, Equinet, the United Nations and various human rights groups about strengthening and changing human rights and equality with a wider remit and more powers.”

The hope, Laiviera said, was that this change will become a reality within the year, and that there will be more powers granted to the NCPE because, at the moment, what they can do after investigating an incident is issue an opinion as they have no powers of implementation.

“With the new bill, which is still a bill and will have to go through parliament with all the changes, we are looking forward for NCPE to have a wider remit with regard to human rights and equality, and more powers of implementation.”

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