Equality and Rights Organisation for Guernsey

In 2013 the States approved, in principle, the establishment of an Equality and Rights Organisation subject to the development and approval of a business plan, and having funding and prioritisation in place.

Unfortunately in March 2020, due to the pressures of resources (funding) and the prioritisation of views an Independent ERO has been scrapped. This would have worked to Promote, Protect and Monitor islanders rights. It was also the body for raising awareness, key to a change in culture. We are disappointed that the business groups G4 have not fully supported the Equality Body as it would significantly benefit small, medium sized businesses (providing information, best practice guides, etc).

What is an Equality and Rights Organisation (ERO)?

From the original proposals:

An ERO is a statutory body designed to help foster a culture of equality, inclusion, diversity and human rights and reduce discrimination.

The States’ Resolution calls for Guernsey’s ERO to be developed in alignment with the Paris Principles, which are UN-adopted guidelines on the status and functions of human rights institutions.

More than 120 countries now have national human rights institutions and/or equality bodies, including the UK, Ireland and small island jurisdictions such as the Overseas Territories of Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.

According to the Paris Principles, EROs should have independent status.

The Paris Principles provide for a range of possible functions for EROs, which may or may not include:

  • Conducting awareness-raising and education on issues relating to equality, inclusion, diversity and human rights. Acting as an accessible, expert point of contact for enquiries from individuals and others on these issues.
  • Advising individuals, businesses, government and other organisations as to their rights and responsibilities, and best practice, on these issues.
  • Supporting the effective operation of discrimination laws, including producing Codes of Practice.
  • Facilitating the informal resolution of discrimination complaints and referring cases to adjudication bodies or courts if necessary.
  • Conducting enquiries into systemic discrimination issues.
  • Issuing compliance orders.
  • Monitoring, researching and publishing findings in relation to equality.
  • Producing annual reports.
  • Encouraging government’s compliance with international conventions.

More information on the development of the Equality and Rights Organisation can be found by following the links below:

If you would like to find out more or share your views regarding equality in Guernsey, please contact us at: equality@gov.gg or call: 01481 732546.

What are human rights?

Human rights are based on the principle of respect for the individual. Their fundamental assumption is that each person is a moral and rational being who deserves to be treated with dignity. They are called human rights because they are universal. Whereas nations or specialised groups enjoy specific rights that apply only to them, human rights apply to everyone.

This is just the beginning

The States of Guernsey is debating proposals for the introduction of equality and non-discrimination legislation. This builds on the Prevention of Discrimination (Enabling Provisions) (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2004 and the Human Rights (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2000. The Human Rights law reflects the European Convention on Human Rights, giving islanders protection of human rights that are recognised in around the world, and requires all public bodies to act in a way that’s consistent with those rights.

How can you be involved?

  • Write to your Deputies to support ESS proposals for Discrimination Legislation and an Equality Body
  • Sign the petition for Anti-Discrimination legislation in Guernsey
  • Attend the States Debate – Starting 15th July