AZ EGY BÁN GYA HOW TO PUT EQUALITY INTO PRACTICE? - MEK

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AZ EGY BÁN GYA HOW TO PUT EQUALITY INTO PRACTICE? - MEK

JUDIT TAKÁCS: How to put equality into practice?of education, information, awareness-raising: so it is a lot of preventativework, promoting equal rights to prevent discrimination from ever occurring.Actually I would say that that is the major part of our work to make otherpublic and private actors, like other authorities, or employer’s associations orlabour unions, work in a pro-active way and to raise awareness and to doeducational and outreach work. […] It is also a part of the ombudsman’s taskto propose legislative or other kinds of measures that the ombudsman feelsare necessary to combat discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.So we do that on our own initiative, but also, mainly I would say, we areconsulted on a large number of legislative proposals in all fields of legislation,where we have to give feed-back to government on what the impact of theproposed legislation would be on the situation of gays and lesbians forinstance. (H. Y.)According to the Swedish sexual orientation ombudsman a publicbody responsible for anti-discrimination issues is endowed with officialcompetence and authority backed up by the state. Therefore in certainfields it can be more effective – or it can be effective in different fields– in fighting against discrimination than an NGO having limited accessto information and resources. For example, a specialised public agencycan play an active role in preventing discrimination by pre-monitoringpublic policies in their planning stage and drawing attention to theirpossible negative consequences for LGBT people.That is one of the experiences, definitely in Sweden, that something totallydifferent happens when you have a government body dealing with theseissues as opposed to just NGOs dealing with these issues. When my officewas set up, one of the first things I started doing was to look into all thedifferent ministries and their responsibilities, all the ministers, […] each andevery one of them, what are the specific gay and lesbian or sexualorientation issues, and then I would meet with each and every of theministers and go through: “Under your responsibility the most importantsexual orientation related issues are […] I have certain ideas about whatneeds to be done there, what are your ideas and what are you going to do?”You can start at the top there and go downwards and outwards in the publicadministration. Of course, you cannot call the minister every month, ordemand to see the minister every month, but if my office feels that there isa need for action within the field of the different public bodies: within thelaw enforcement system, police, public prosecutors, judges, etc., then I goto talk to the leadership of for instance the court administration or theprosecutor general’s office, and, first of all, they will not say no. Maybe theywill not say no to an NGO either which wants to go and see them, and theymay receive them, but they will certainly not say no to a public governmentagency which has a legal mandate to deal with these issues and if I am not108

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