The Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson received nearly a thousand inquires

In 2018, the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson received almost one thousand inquires on discrimination. This is the biggest number throughout the existence of the Office. Inquires on possible cases of discrimination on the grounds of sex, age and disability were the most frequent, while inquires on discrimination based on religion, belief, convictions and views or sexual orientation were one of the rarest.

The Office received numerous inquiries on possible equal opportunities violations in the areas of employment (28%) and consumer rights (22%), with the lowest percentage being in area of education (2%). 35 investigations were initiated by the Ombudsperson herself on her own initiative. Women approached the Office slightly more often than men (39% and 30% respectively). Furthermore, the number of inquiries from companies and organizations significantly increased over the year. They were mostly asking for advice on implementation of equal opportunities in practice.

Last year, 63 cases of violation of the equal opportunities’ laws were identified by the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson. The highest number of violations registered in the area of consumer rights (54%), while the lowest – in the area of state and municipal institutions and agencies (11%).

Assessing the results of last year, the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson Agneta Skardžiuvienė was glad that the number of reasonable appeals to the Office is growing. “The number of inquiries every year proves that the public awareness of discrimination and knowledge of human rights is increasing,” says the Ombudsperson.

In 2018, the Office focused on the issue of domestic violence against women. The public service ad ‘Perfect Family' was launched to raise awareness on the different forms of violence against women, and another one – called 'Support' – emphasized the need of appropriate assistance to women who have suffered domestic violence from men without blaming them. Both campaigns put together reached more than 1.5 million viewers.

Last year the Office’s attention was also focused on informing employers and employees about the implementation of policies on equal opportunities at work. Three specialized publications were published providing practical advices concerning the means to ensure equal opportunities for all in the field of workplace and the provision of services. The 5th National Equality and Diversity Awards and the National Human Rights Forum dedicated to the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were organized jointly with partners.

Data infographic is available here.

Agneta Skardžiuvienė

Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson of the Republic of Lithuania

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