Belfast conference calls for equality law reform
Northern Ireland’s equality legislation must be updated to provide as much legal protection from discrimination as people enjoy in other parts of the UK, a conference has heard.
Hosted by the Equality Commission, today’s conference is examining the history and future of Northern Ireland’s equality legislation and the experiences of implementation of single equality legislation in Britain, with the Equality Act 2010, and the Employment Equality Acts and Equal Status Acts in Ireland.
Chief commissioner Geraldine McGahey says: “Equality legislation needs to be updated to ensure there is better protection against discrimination than there is here currently.
“We want to focus on what needs to be done to encourage policy makers to make equality law here simpler, stronger and more effective for everyone in Northern Ireland.”
The conference is looking at the need for reform of the laws on age discrimination and race discrimination, and includes sessions on the views of lawyers, employers and trade unions on the need for equality law reform.
It will close later today with an invited panel of people involved in advocating for disability rights, women’s rights, LGBTQIA rights and race equality rights discussing their views on the need for law reform.
Ms McGahey said: “This is about encouraging change in the legal protections for everyone in Northern Ireland. Strong equality legislation has served us well in the past.
“It has been fundamental to the building of more inclusive and fairer workplaces, which in turn has helped to make our society more understanding and more accepting of difference. Equality law can and should protect everyone from discrimination.”