Equality Rights group GGR - Citizenship in Democracy EQUALITY RIGHTS GGR

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

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Government has our full cooperation

In a statement to the press, Equality Rights Group GGR has welcomed the election of Fabian Picardo as Gibraltar’s new Chief Minister and ‘the atmosphere of dialogue, hope and sensitivity to equality and human rights which the new Administration’s Manifesto commitments has pledged. In this, the Deputy Chief Minister, Joseph Garcia, in his task of civic reform as well as the Minister for Equality and Social Services, Samantha Sacramento, are assured of our full cooperation. We give our thanks also for the warm and vociferous support given by so many people in social media sites, and of course to the people of Gibraltar who voted for parties pledging progress on same-sex and human rights issues. It is heartening to see change come to Gibraltar.’


Felix Alvarez, founder and ex-Chairman of the group stated that ‘Following a request for independent advice, I have urged the group to focus on cooperation and consultation with the new Administration since confrontation with the previous government was a circumstance made obligatory by Mr Caruana’s decade-long refusal to dialogue despite public and private approaches. And I am honoured to comply with the group’s request to publicly announce the change of emphasis in its moment of transition despite no longer being in the Executive. The initial job, which has taken 11 years of hard work, is largely done – though there is no doubt that there will be more for the group to do and build upon.’

‘The group is keen, however, to see a new generation (irrespective of gender or sexual orientation) with fresh ideas and impetus take forward the equality campaign programme in whatever form,’ Alvarez continued, ‘and in this GGR is already actively engaged. Indeed, the very fact that this can now happen is in itself the realisation of everything GGR has worked for over the last decade. Eleven years ago it was not,’ Mr. Alvarez added.

‘Two areas, however, remain of concern: firstly, the increasing problem of bullying and homophobic violence towards gay people, especially the young. We look forward to the Administration’s pledge to introduce modern Hate Crime legislation in this respect. However, it is incumbent upon both the police and schools to have proper and sufficient awareness, training and procedures to begin to eradicate these problems, and in this GGR will be more than happy to extend whatever cooperation and skills it can provide. The group has previously provided training courses for the RGP and is more than willing to extend the same service once more wherever it is needed’ Mr Alvarez added.

‘Secondly, the provisions in the Equal Opportunities Act to do away with employment discrimination by companies or recruitment agencies need to be made real through effective supervision and enforcement. Whilst the provisions are broad in scope across most discrimination categories, GGR within its wider remit of discrimination across the whole community, is particularly concerned with respect to age discrimination. We have had sufficient representations made to us over the years to know that middle-aged job seekers have a particularly hard time because they are, perhaps, the least understood. Too often people in this age range find themselves left out of the employment market on age criteria alone, regardless of their years of experience and qualifications. They form an often-overlooked sector of this community and it is time their situation was attended to – if nothing else because age discrimination at work is actually already illegal!’