Thursday, 29 March 2012

Malta Today: Aditus welcomes extension to NCPE’s remit
Thursday 8 March 2012 - 11:28

Human rights NGO says extension of NCPE’s remit guarantees victims of discrimination a further source of redress against individuals and companies who discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Human rights NGO aditus foundation welcomed the extension of the remit of the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality (NCPE), mandating it to formally deal with discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Last week, Justice Minister Chris Said announced amendments to Criminal code to protect gay victims of hate crimes.

Said also announced the extension of the remit of the NCPE beyond what is based on gender and race to incorporate other grounds including gender identity and sexual orientation.

"This means that NCPE will now include these two important grounds in all of its activities, including research, awareness raising, advocacy and training. From the perspective of victims of discrimination, these measures guarantee a further source of redress against individuals and agencies discriminating on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity," aditus director Neil Falzon said.

The NGO said that the possibility to seek effective redress for human rights violations is central to the very nature of human rights protection.

"We're looking forward to NCPE's involvement in these areas in order to better understand the extent of such discrimination in Malta and to devise strategies to combat it, together," Falzon said.

The organization said the amendments are the result of on-going advocacy efforts by several organisations. It added that such amendments highlight the important role played by NGOs in the promotion of human rights in Malta.

"We stand ready to support their implementation through training activities targeting governmental officials, police officers and other interested and relevant stakeholders," Falzon said.

With regards to the broadening of hate crimes legislation, Falzon reiterated that this was a clear statement condemning acts of violence committed out of discrimination against particularly vulnerable groups.

"We are particularly happy to see the inclusion of gender identity as a protected ground, putting Malta at the forefront of recognising and tackling the difficult and often violent situations faced by transgender persons simply because they are perceived to be different," Falzon said.

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