The term “Anti-discrimination” is preferred by the Agency for Horizontal Objectives within the ESF instead of the terms “Equal Opportunities and Non-discrimination” used in the Regulations and the Operational Programme of the Federal ESF, since Anti-discrimination suggests proactive measures, whereas “Non-discrimination” is understood as compliance with legislation.
The horizontal objective Anti-discrimination is based on three pillars with different foundations and origins:
On the one hand, Anti-discrimination is in conformity with the EU Anti-discrimination Directives and includes legal aspects. The provisions adopted within the EU Anti-discrimination Directives have been combined in Germany in the General Act on Equal Treatment (AGG). The protection against discrimination refers to the different dimensions which prohibit discrimination. § 1 AGG stipulates: “The purpose of this Act is to prevent or to stop discrimination on the grounds of race or ethnic origin, gender, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation”.
A discrimination is defined as a direct or indirect disadvantage, a general or a sexual harassment.
The second pillar of Anti-discrimination – the combating of poverty and social exclusion – originated in the wake of the debate about a “Social Europe” and was introduced, amongst other things, with the support of National Action Plans on Inclusion (NAPincl), which have been mandatory for the Member States since the beginning of the Millennium. This second pillar of Anti-discrimination is not based on the EU Directives but targets all people concerned by poverty and social exclusion.
Finally yet importantly, a third pillar has to be taken into account within the framework of Anti-discrimination: the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). The UN CRPD has been ratified by Germany in 2007 and entered into force in March 2009. In the UN CRPD disabilities are defined as an interaction between the restrictions of persons and the dealing of society with these restrictions and the equal participation of persons with a disability as a human right and requirements e. g. for participation in education or employment. These requirements are marked by the idea that for people with disabilities no special measures should be the rule but rather their participation and involvement in all offerings.
Because of the implementation of the horizontal objective Anti-discrimination, the discrimination-free access to all ESF measures and the combating of structural inequalities are to be ensured in accordance with the Operational Programme of the Federal ESF. In this connection, accessibility approaches are to be developed and implemented in the same way as concepts against discrimination of ESF target groups such as migrants, youth with an immigration history, asylum seekers and refugees or senior citizens. Moreover, the culture of welcome and the diversity management in SMEs and public administrations are promoted.