Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Gibraltar discrimination laws 'woefully inadequate' say GGR

Gibraltar's Equality Rights Group, GGR, have today criticised the Gibraltar Government, accusing them of "extravagance" and saying anti-discrimination laws in Gibraltar are "woefully inadequate".

In a statement today, welcoming news that MEPs in the EU’s Civil Liberties Committee have now formally backed plans for a Directive on multiple discriminations, Equality Rights Group Chairman, Felix Alvarez (right) said:

"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.

This, of course, 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," added 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".

The GGR Chairman urged the Gibraltar Government to "take note". He reminds them that only three months ago, 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. The case is also likely to proceed "further and further" says Mr Alvarez, "until exhausting the judicial process at Strasbourg".

Accusing the Government of "extravagant" spending of tax payers money, Mr Alvarez concluded:

"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."

Well said Felix! Bringing Gibraltar's human rights legislation into the 21st century... is long overdue!