Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Sent to Coventry With Human Rights

It was a bit of a job today to decide whether I spent all day working or not. I got up at 5 a.m. to catch the 6.55 a.m. train from Cardiff Central to Coventry.

My destination was the Hilton Hotel in Coventry for a meeting arranged by the new CEHR (Commission for Equalities and Human Rights).

It was basically an opportunity for Trevor Philips (Chair) and Nicola Brewer (CEO) to provide stakeholders with an update. Nicola Brewer, in particular, is very impressive. From my point of view, it's good that she knows Wales well.

I had to leave a little early to address a church meeting in Cardiff on the new CEHR and the proposed Single Equality Act. That was quite clearly work. Work I could not really do if I were not well informed.

As my year as Wales' Commission for Racial Equality Commissioner comes to an end, I wish CEHR and all those involved with it well.

They already know that they will have their work cut out to serve the communities formerly served by three commissions covering, race, gender and disability. They will, from October onwards, have to handle faith, sexual orientation and age as well.

There are very good reasons for placing all equality and human rights issues within the remit of a single body. I'm of the view that the rights of Welsh speakers to speak Welsh in the place of work should be placed within future legislation

I'm hopeful for the future but if we all get this wrong, many may be sent to Coventry to rethink issues.

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