Welcome to the Alliance for a Discrimination-free Rhineland-Palatinate
The General Equal Treatment Act (Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz, AGG), which came into force in 2006, has significantly improved legal protection against discrimination. It aims to prevent or eliminate discrimination on the grounds of ethnic origin, gender, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual identity.
The Alliance for a Discrimination-free Rhineland-Palatinate is an association of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and initiatives in Rhineland-Palatinate that represent the interests of affected groups in anti-discrimination work.
YOU HAVE RIGHTS!
Protection against discrimination is a human right.
What is discrimination? – And who can provide help if I am being discriminated against?
Our Basic Law prohibits discrimination in Article 3 paragraph 3.
In 2006, the General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) made this fundamental legal protection against discrimination more concrete. Unless there is an objective reason, the AGG prohibits unequal treatment on the grounds of ethnic origin, gender, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual identity. However, the scope of the AGG is limited to the world of work and (legal) relationships between private individuals. It does not apply in other important areas such as education.
The AGG gives those affected by such unlawful unequal treatment the opportunity to defend themselves legally. In reality, however, it is often difficult and costly to prove discrimination and to assert claims for redress or compensation: The AGG is complicated and does not cover all forms of discrimination. In addition, many of those affected have long since become „used to“ such discrimination or are reluctant to „take on“ their employer or another institution that is perceived as overpowering. Furthermore, there is still a lack of nationwide support structures to assist those affected.
How does unlawful discrimination under the AGG manifest itself in everyday life?
A young man with dark skin is only allowed to pay with cash in a clothing shop because „many Africans try to pay with stolen credit cards“.
A female employee in a bar is forbidden to work at the counter with reference to „customer interests“ as long as she sticks to her short haircut.
The application of a woman wearing a headscarf in a doctor’s office is rejected because „the headscarf is an expression of a fundamentalist attitude which we do not want here“.
A man wearing a kippa is refused a ride on a public bus because „Jews are harmful to the community and should therefore drive a taxi“.
A homosexual couple is refused service in a restaurant on the grounds that their presence is disturbing and inconveniencing the other guests.
A woman in a wheelchair is told by a public housing association that her application for a flat will not be processed because „wheelchairs bring so much dirt into the stairwell“.
The application of an employee in a software company to participate in a training course is rejected: she is „too old to understand the contents and will only be with the company for a few more years anyway“.
A trans woman is harassed by her colleagues at work with obscene comments. Her employer refuses to take action against her because „her appearance provokes such harassment“.
MEMBERS OF THE ALLIANCE FOR A DISCRIMINATION-FREE RHINELAND PALATINATE
However, people who have experienced discrimination are not alone in Rhineland-Palatinate:
The member organisations of the „Alliance for a Discrimination-free Rhineland-Palatinate „ offer empowerment, counselling and support to those affected. They can organise legal or political support in concrete individual cases or become active themselves by approaching those who are accused of discrimination. Often this helps to clarify a situation, to sensitise the counterpart or even to remedy the situation. They can document the individual experiences of many affected people and condense them into an overall picture, publicly point out grievances and formulate demands to politicians for better protection against discrimination. And they can strengthen those affected by putting them in contact with other people who have also been discriminated against. This can make it clear that they are not alone with their experiences and that they are not responsible for their experiences.
People who have experienced discrimination also have access to free initial legal counselling through the State Anti-Discrimination Office at the Ministry for Family Affairs, Women, Youth, Integration and Consumer Protection of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate (Antidiskriminierungsstelle des Landes Rheinland-Pfalz (LADS)). Within the framework of this counselling, a lawyer examines whether claims can be derived and enforced from the AGG or other laws. For those affected, such an assessment and legal evaluation of an experience of discrimination is of great importance in order to being able to decide on the further course of action.
Despite these support structures, there is still much to be done in the area of protection against discrimination. The member organisations of the Alliance for a Discrimination-free Rhineland-Palatinate therefore advocate:
- to further develop the General Equal Treatment Act in such a way that those affected by discrimination can more easily obtain their rights. To this end, among other things:
- the time limits within which claims can be asserted must be extended;
- the requirements for proving discrimination must be lowered (so-called reversal of the burden of proof);
- representative organisations are given the right to take legal action on behalf of those affected (so-called right of action by associations).
- Close existing regulatory gaps in the protection against discrimination, e.g. in the field of education, and therefore introduce a state anti-discrimination law in Rhineland-Palatinate;
- to install counselling structures in Rhineland-Palatinate that cover the whole state and are permanently secured.
We cordially invite you to contact us if you are
- are affected by discrimination
- or would like to get actively involved in the protection against discrimination!
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
Funded by: MINISTRY FOR FAMILY AFFAIRS, WOMEN, YOUTH, INTEGRATION AND CONSUMER PROTECTION OF THE STATE OF RHINELAND-PALATINATE
There is no more or less human dignity!
Mission statement of the
„Netzwerk diskriminierungsfreies Rheinland-Pfalz e.V.
(Network Discrimination-Free Rhineland-Palatinate e.V.)
The members of the “Netzwerk diskriminierungsfreies Rheinland-Pfalz e.V.” share the following vision of a non-discriminatory society and are committed to the following principles and values:
There is no more or less human dignity! There is no better or worse diversity of people! Making this tangible and liveable in everyday life is the vision of the „Netzwerk diskriminierungsfreies Rheinland-Pfalz e.V.“ and its ultimate goal.
All human beings have the right to be as they are and to live as they want within the framework of the law – with all their personal characteristics. This right derives from the inalienable dignity of all human beings. It must be tangible for all people and not just a distant promise to be fulfilled “someday”. The quality of peaceful coexistence is measured by how this right is implemented for everyone equally in everyday life, irrespective of the person concerned.
This requires not only working towards social acceptance of diversity, effective legal protection mechanisms as well as support structures against discrimination, but also critical self-reflection and mutual exchange of all actors in the anti-discrimination sector.
Principles and values
- The “ Netzwerk diskriminierungsfreies Rheinland-Pfalz e.V.“ is based on the conviction shared by all members that:
- the acceptance of diversity and the equality of all people, regardless of actual or at-tributed characteristics, as well as
- equal rights and opportunities and freedom from discrimination
- are not just social obligations, but are unalterable rights at the core of human rights.
- The „Netzwerk diskriminierungsfreies Rheinland-Pfalz e.V.“ understands diversity as a so-cial strength and as a social potential in the sense of the diversity approach. Therefore, it values individual diversity and advocates for the comprehensive inclusion of all people, re-gardless of actual or attributed characteristics.
- The „Netzwerk diskriminierungsfreies Rheinland-Pfalz e.V.“ pursues a horizontal or cross-characteristics approach. It understands working for the acceptance of social diversity and against individual, institutional and structural discrimination as challenges that have to be dealt with in an intersectional or multi-dimensional manner, which require appropriate strategies of action and support.
- The „Netzwerk diskriminierungsfreies Rheinland-Pfalz e.V.“ is committed to the objective set forth in Article 1 of the General Act on Equal Treatment of the Federal Republic of Germany (General Act) to prevent or to eliminate all discrimination and disadvantages, whether on racist grounds or on grounds of ethnic origin, gender, religion or worldview, disability, age or sexual identity. Its work is, therefore, both preventative and curative.
- The „Netzwerk diskriminierungsfreies Rheinland-Pfalz e.V.“ does not consider the actual or attributed characteristics mentioned in the General Act to be exhaustive. Therefore, it ad-vocates for protection against discrimination also on the basis of other actual or attributed characteristics (e.g. social status, chronic illness, non-German language of origin). It is open to the membership of and cooperation with organizations that represent the interests of groups at risk of discrimination who are not mentioned in the General Act.
- The „Netzwerk diskriminierungsfreies Rheinland-Pfalz e.V.“ sees itself equally as a civil so-ciety complementary/addition and as a civil society counterpart to state structures con-cerned with protection against discrimination and its further development.
- To realize its goals, the state-wide „Netzwerk diskriminierungsfreies Rheinland-Pfalz e.V.“ is open to networking and cooperating with regional, national or international institutions / organizations committed to the protection against discrimination.
- The members of the „Netzwerk diskriminierungsfreies Rheinland-Pfalz e.V.“ consider the readiness for critical self-reflection and active confrontation with prejudices promoting discrimination within the network as indispensable basic requirements for a credible and effective commitment against discrimination.
Mainz, July 15th 2021