Equality Rights group GGR - Citizenship in Democracy EQUALITY RIGHTS GGR

News and Information from Gibraltar on Equality, Human, Gay and Social Rights

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Plans for new EU Directive - we criticise Gib government 'extravagance'

Equality Rights Group Chairman, Felix Alvarez (left), has welcomed news that MEPs in the EU’s Civil Liberties Committee have now formally backed plans for a Directive on multiple discriminations.

“Over the years, legislation on separate discriminations has been introduced and the EU and individual member states have been in the process for some time of bringing anti-discrimination measures together in a more coherent way,” commented Felix Alvarez, the Group’s Chairman.

“This, ofcourse, is ironic for us, since it is happening against a backdrop in Gibraltar where we hardly have any anti-discrimination law at all, and what there is, is woefully inadequate.”

“Of particular importance,” said Mr Alvarez, “is the fact that under the new Directive, governments will not be able to discriminate on housing against people whether disabled, gay, or across a range of categories.

“Government should take note. It is just 3 months since the Gibraltar courts ordered the Housing Committee to re-consider their discriminatory treatment of a lesbian couple regarding a joint tenancy, a decision they subsequently refused to change. The case went to appeal, at huge expense to the Gibraltar taxpayer. And it is likely to proceed further and further until exhausting the judicial process at Strasbourg.

“This indecent use of taxpayers’ money to simply delay the inevitable, only serves to emphasise the entrenchment of a Gibraltar government increasingly at odds with modern trends in social law.

“If we are to believe that government is serious about cutting down costs on litigation, this kind of spending is not only disproportionate, it is also extravagant. At the end of the day, we are talking about treating all citizens in a fair and equal way.”