We are Joyce Hamilton from the Dutch LGBTI organisation COC and Natasha Amdiju from
Green Institute in North Macedonia, today speaking as representatives of civil society, as
part of the UN ECE Regional CSO Engagement Mechanism.
In our region inequality and discrimination has many faces. Many people continue to
confront barriers that prevent them from fully participating in economic, social and political
life. These include women, children, youth, older persons, persons with disabilities, Roma,
LGBTI persons, indigenous people, migrants, refugees and internally displaced persons. They
often experience discrimination and exclusion, particularly aggravated when multiple
aspects intersect, such as gender and class, race or HIV-status. As a result, they suffer from
worse health and education outcomes, face disadvantages in access to the labor market
and experience poverty at disproportionately high rates.
● In the European Union, only about 47% of persons with disabilities are employed
compared to 72% of other persons.
● Many trans people are refused, outed or maltreated by healthcare professionals.
They often avoid health care altogether for fear of violence and discrimination.
● In many states refugees, migrant and indigenous persons don’t have citizenship or a
formally recognized status, which seriously impairs their ability to access health care,
social protection, employment and education.
Barriers that people face are both discriminatory laws, policies and practices as well as in
discriminatory gender norms, stereotypes and gender-based violence. Laws that are not
taking specific needs and impact on different people into account can exacerbate already
existing discrimination and exclusion of already marginalized groups. It’s therefore
important to apply targeted approaches for different groups.
– Gendered job listings in law
– Age limits in services
– Gender registration requirements (eg. sterilization, medical diagnosis, divorce – trans
people to change their gender)
– Citizenship and asylum legislation
– Anti-propaganda legislation (affecting CSE, LGBTI organisations, media)
– No adequate sanitation in schools – affecting girls of reproductive age – do not attend
schools during menstruation
These hold people back and prevent them from participating in sustainable development.
Unequal structures and systemic barriers impact all of us, with the most marginalized being
impacted hardest. The transformation of deeply rooted systems, including economic and
political systems, is required to leave no one behind as they are often based on unequal
distributions of wealth and decision-making power. Governments have the responsibility to
address the root causes of these inequalities and discrimination.
We therefore would like to make the following recommendations to States to:
● Take into account the diversity of persons and groups, their circumstances and
realities when drafting laws and policies and in implementation. Analyse what
barriers for inclusion are and what potential impact of laws and policies will be on
● Ensure that social protection systems guarantee gender equality and ensure
work-life balance. Systems that are people-centred, age-sensitive,
gender-transformative and recognise the diversity of needs and families /
● Ensure that all persons are recognised before the law based on their right to
self-determination, have access to their human rights and the autonomy to choose
over their body and sexuality
● Ensure the engagement of the civil society organisations and community groups in
formulating adequate, appropriate and effective policies and laws that matter to
people and promote equality.
● Address the significant gap in equality data on the inclusion and wellbeing of all
persons. Ensure better and more inclusive data through a multi-method
multidisciplinary approach to data collection and data disaggregation according to
indicators of regulation, validity, reliability, comprehensiveness and use of equality
data to promote equality in practice. The gap might be overcome if the states adopt
multi-method multidisciplinary approach to data collection.
The methods must be combined according to the data availability: national statistic
data sources, justice system (police reports, prosecution, court etc.); administrative
record keeping (Ombudsperson, equality bodies, NGOs, trade unions..); surveys
(victims, attitudes etc.) and other sources (such as situation testing; international
mechanisms reports). The indicators are: regulation of equality data, validity,
reliability, comprehensiveness and use of equality data to promote equality in
● Ensure Public sector duty to promote equality i.e. equality analysis. This means to
define the effects of existing and new policies and practice in equality. There is a
specific public sector duty to publish evidence of data collected.
● To strengthen the capacities of equality bodies and national human rights
institutions to promote their role and mandate among citizens.