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Tuesday, 11 December, 2001, 07:23 GMT
Conference to study equality laws
Joan Harbison: The Chief Commissioner of the new Equality Commission
Joan Harbison: "Conference will address all aspects of equality"
A conference in Belfast is to examine ways of improving the law on equality in Northern Ireland.

It is being hosted by the Equality Commission on Tuesday which wants to discuss ways of bringing together all the current equality laws.

The chief commissioner, Joan Harbinson, said the commission wanted to ensure the best possible protection against discrimination.

"There is a commitment by government to introduce legislation which covers all the anti-discrimination categories that are already there," she said.

Equality agenda

"We in the Equality Commission want to widen the scope of the legislation and we want to listen to the widest possible range of views as to what the legislation should contain and that is what this conference is about."

The commission was established under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement to oversee equal opportunities in areas including employment.

It was included in the Agreement to address nationalist and republican demands that the equality agenda in the Northern Ireland should be examined.

The Equality Commission replaced the Commission for Racial Equality for Northern Ireland, the Equal opportunities Commission, Fair Employment Commission and the Northern Ireland Disability Council.

The commission is also responsible for ensuring that all public authorities in Northern Ireland give due regard to promoting equality of opportunity across a range of areas.

These include religion, political opinion, gender, race, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disability and those with and without dependants.

See also:

13 Nov 01 | Northern Ireland
Report looks at age discrimination
22 Jul 99 | Northern Ireland
NI Equality Commission members appointed
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