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Equality Commission for Northern Ireland

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (Irish: Coimisiún Comhionannais do Thuaisceart Éireann, Ulster-Scots: Equalitie Commision fer Norlin Airlan) is a non-departmental public body in Northern Ireland established under the Northern Ireland Act 1998. "The Commission is responsible for implementing the legislation on sex discrimination and equal pay, race relations, sexual orientation, age, religious or similar philosophical belief, political opinion and disability. The Commission’s remit also includes overseeing the statutory duties on public authorities to promote equality of opportunity and good relations under Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998."[1]


The Commission's vision is "Northern Ireland as a shared, integrated and inclusive place, a society where difference is respected and valued, based on equality and fairness for the entire community".[2]

Its mission is "to advance equality, promote equality of opportunity, encourage good relations and challenge discrimination through promotion, advice and enforcement".[2]


"The Commission´s duties and functions are set out in the legislation for which we have responsibility. General duties include:

  • working towards the elimination of discrimination
  • promoting equality of opportunity and encouraging good practice
  • promoting affirmative/positive action
  • promoting good relations between people of different racial groups
  • overseeing the implementation and effectiveness of the statutory duty on public authorities and
  • keeping the relevant legislation under review."[2]

On 1 October 1999 the Commission took over the functions previously exercised by the Commission for Racial Equality for Northern Ireland, the Equal Opportunities Commission for Northern Ireland, the Fair Employment Commission and the Northern Ireland Disability Council.

Since 1999, a number of new pieces of legislation have been introduced. The Commission is now responsible for promoting awareness of and enforcing anti-discrimination law on the following grounds: age, disability, race, sex (including marital and civil partner status), sexual orientation, religious belief and political opinion.

In 2008, the Commission became part of the UK independent mechanism promoting, protecting and monitoring implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, alongside the three UK national human rights institutions.


In July 2009 Peter Robinson, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party criticised the Commission for having insufficient Protestant representation. Sinn Féin defended the Commission.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Home". The Executive Office.
  2. ^ a b c "ECNI - Equality Commission for Northern Ireland".
  3. ^ "DUP leader slams equality body". British Broadcasting Corporation. 27 July 2009.

External linksEdit