The right to non-discrimination is a fundamental human right recognized and protected by various international human rights instruments and national laws. It is a principle that asserts that all individuals should be treated equally and fairly, without any form of discrimination based on certain characteristics or attributes. These characteristics can include race, ethnicity, nationality, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, disability, social status, political beliefs, and more.
The right to non-discrimination is enshrined in several international human rights treaties, such as:
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR): Adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, the UDHR proclaims that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and that everyone is entitled to rights and freedoms without discrimination.
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR): This treaty, adopted in 1966, protects against discrimination in the enjoyment of civil and political rights, such as the right to life, freedom of expression, and freedom of religion.
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR): Also adopted in 1966, this treaty safeguards against discrimination in the enjoyment of economic, social, and cultural rights, such as the right to education, work, and health.
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD): Adopted in 1965, this convention aims to eliminate racial discrimination and ensure equal treatment for all individuals regardless of their race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin.
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW): Adopted in 1979, this convention focuses on promoting gender equality and eliminating discrimination against women in all areas of life.
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD): Adopted in 2006, this treaty addresses the rights of persons with disabilities and emphasizes the need to remove barriers and discrimination against them.
The right to non-discrimination is not only a principle that states must adhere to but also a responsibility for individuals and societies to promote and respect. Governments are obligated to protect individuals from discrimination, and they must enact laws and policies that ensure equal treatment and opportunity for all. Moreover, individuals should be aware of their rights and stand against discrimination in any form, both personally and collectively, to create inclusive and equitable societies.