As set out in law, the goal of the work performed by the Equal Treatment Authority (Egyenlő Bánásmód Hatóság or EBH in Hungarian), which turned ten years old in 2015, is to provide effective legal remedies for victims of discrimination.
One of the open questions we faced in 2015 was whether we would be able to sustain the full scale of our previous activities and to ensure the sustainability of our previous results and achievements without the funds and human resources provided by the special EU project that had been available for most of the Authority’s existence in order to bolster its work.
“Bolstering” the Authority’s work is especially vital – on an ongoing basis – in the area of communication, because of the wide array of responsibilities that the Ebktv sets out for the Authority. This is the case because in addition to managing complaints, the Authority’s activities also include an array of services – including assistance, information and co-operation activities – that are completely different in nature from its work in applying the law.
What renders the performance of these responsibilities even more complex is that these predominantly promotional, communication and cooperation activities must be used to support the victims of discrimination, and to encourage those responsible for complying with the principle of equal treatment to continue to adhere to the law, without allowing any doubts as to arise as to the impartiality of the Authority itself or its proceedings.
Our Department of Communication and Partnership, which was established in 2015, proved successful in disseminating and further developing our communication and educational achievements, and it also improved the institution’s online interface.
The Authority’s lawyers, in addition to their duties with respect to the Authority’s procedures, the hearings held in rural areas and the representation of the EBH in court, also strove to ensure that the Equal Treatment Authority continues to remain a responsive institution by accepting numerous requests to share knowledge, give presentations and participate in trainings.
Since the very beginning we have sought to promote the introduction of anti-discrimination studies in higher education. This year saw the implementation of this goal with respect to continuing education, in the form of the accreditation of a training programme in the continuing education of civil servants. The accreditation procedure had been initiated on the basis of education materials compiled by the Authority’s staff.
Our national network of county-level equal treatment consultants (which comprises 19 consultants across the country) is an institution that promotes rights enforcement and is considered a best practice both at the domestic and the EU level. The network has proved to be reliably sustainable and continues to provide quick and effective access to the Authority’s services in all counties of Hungary.
The annual report on our activities will provide the reader with information concerning the details of the Authority’s work, statistical data about the past year, as well as a selection of case summaries about EBH procedures concluded in 2015 by a final, legally binding decision.
Dr. Ágnes Honecz