The non-discrimination provision provided by Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, ECHR, is limited in that it prohibits discrimination only with regard to the enjoyment of rights and freedoms set forth in the Convention. Several ways of providing further guarantees in the field of equality and non-discrimination through a protocol have been proposed for some years by various groups and bodies. Ireland supported the adoption of the draft Protocol No. 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights during its different stages. Protocol No. 12 which broadens the field of application of Article 14 of the ECHR and provides for a general prohibition on discrimination, was finally adopted in June of this year.
The protocol will open for signature in Rome on 4 November 2000 on the occasion of the commemorative ceremony for the 50th anniversary of the European Convention on Human Rights. Discussions are currently under way with relevant Government Departments with a view to signature of the protocol on that occasion.