DTI plans a Combined Equality and Human Rights Commission

United Kingdom

The DTI has confirmed that it plans to establish a single Combined Equality and Human Rights Commission ('CEHR'), to replace the Commission for Racial Equality, the Disability Rights Commission and the Equal Opportunities Commission by 2008. After Parliament has passed the act to create the CEHR, a "shadow CEHR" will be formed to facilitate the transfer of responsibilities from the three current commissions to the new CEHR.

The CEHR will:

  • have a duty to promote human rights and raise public bodies' awareness of their obligations under the Human Rights Act;
  • promote good relations between communities giving priority to issues of race and religion;
  • promote and enforce the duty on public bodies to promote race, gender and disability equality. It will also assess a public body's performance of these duties;
  • set its own priorities over which equality cases it supports: there will be no statutory criteria;
  • bring certain proceedings in its own name;
  • conduct inquiries into named bodies or sectors; and
  • publish a regular 'state of the nation' report.

David Lammy, Human Rights Minister outlined the Government's hopes for this body:

"The CEHR will help us build the human rights culture this country needs - a society with a deeply ingrained respect for the dignity and value of every person. I believe that bringing together equality and human rights in one commission will greatly further the development of this culture. The consultation responses have helped us to design a powerful body that is equipped to face the challenges ahead."