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Successful Law and Society Conference in Mexico City for Moritz Jesse

Dr. Moritz Jesse, Associate Professor at the Europa Institute, presented his paper ‘Building Bridges or Erecting Walls? – The Application of Equal Treatment and Non-Discrimination in Europe ‘ at the annual meeting of the Law and Society Association.

The annual meeting 2017 took place in June in Mexico City and brought together studying issues circling around the theme Walls, Borders, and Bridges: Law and Society in an Inter-Connected World.

Jesse argues that while principle of equal treatment and non-discrimination is arguably a universal value and constitutions, legislation of various states and international organizations, such as the European Union seek to guarantee equal treatment and non-discrimination; protection from discrimination is never complete. Differences in protection are most likely to arise by virtue of the ground of discrimination alleged, e.g. race, religion, or nationality, but also by virtue of the context within which differential treatment takes place. For example, within the European Union, Directive 2000/43, i.e. the Racial Equality Directive, discrimination based on race and ethnic origin prohibited. However, the directive itself determines that differential treatment on grounds of immigration status and nationality falls outside of its scope of application, thus leaving immigrants unprotected from discrimination based on race and ethnic origin in the process of application of national and EU immigration legislation. As a matter of fact, legislation, in particular immigration regulation, is not possible to envision without such differentiations based on abstract categories such as nationality or immigration status. However, it is very interesting to observe how legislation draws the boundaries of groups in relationship to the application of the principle of equal treatment and non-discrimination. Jesse then explored and compared the application of the principle of equal treatment in national and EU (constitutional) law. He concluded with some thoughts as to why some groups are awarded protection and others not, even though they might have the same (or higher) factual need of protection from discrimination.

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