Essay on the Core Principles of Equality and Non-Discrimination in International Human Rights Law

Published: 2021/12/28
Number of words: 5543


The core principles of equality and non-discrimination are neither absolute nor neutral because human rights are violated by people globally. Human rights are not respected because some people see themselves as superior and feel that they are above the law. The rise in inequality and discrimination across the world is a trend and has affected a large number of people in many nations from the humblest to the greatest wealthy groups. Equality and non-discrimination are precisely intrinsic in the impression of unity in self-respect and value of human beings in that not all variances in the lawful treatment are biased because all treatments legally are violent to human self-respect. There occur some differences that may give growth in lawful conduct and do not disrupt the values of fairness. They can be useful in achieving justice and also for protecting those who feel illegally discriminated against.

Human Rights

The values of human rights were drawn by humans as a way of making sure that the self-respect of everyone is correspondingly appreciated. Self-respect gives a person a sense of self-worth. The existence of human rights shows that human beings are conscious of each other’s self-worth. Human self-respect is part of common humanity. A person’s understanding of human rights affects one’s views on them. A spiritual perspective of human rights is extra striking if such rights are considered equal to all human species rather than just those of its affiliates who have respected assets.

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All human rights are owned by every single human being. [1]The international human rights system initiated the impression that people have a similar set of equal human rights. The right to equality requires all countries and states to treat people differently so that they can overcome the ancient outlines of disadvantaging people and attain fairness amongst them. The word equality defines the oneness of the human family. The fact that all human beings are equivalent also warrant to be given equal treatment has a prevailing positive petition. The principle of equality and non-discrimination has added a very significant rank in international law. It is now encompassed in the crucial human rights devices in different states. Human rights are general and absolute; co-dependent and interconnected and undividable.[2] Human rights are universal because all individuals are entitled to them. They are indivisible because all human rights have equivalent status and cannot be placed in a ranked order. They are interdependent and interrelated because each one subsidizes the realization of a being’s dignity.

Important assessments of human rights have grasped a climax. Despite being significant in modern times, human rights face privileges of being irrelevant and guesses of fading away. Social science faces an acquainted repeat of analysis. The analysis has also catalyzed a counter-analysis. A theory suggests that the turn to human rights has been successful more than imagined.


Equality assures us that every human being is born unrestricted and equal. Equality supposes that all individuals have and deserve a similar level of respect, all people deserve the same kind of respect. All laws, programs and, policies should not discriminate against anyone and, that the public authorities must not impose rules, programs and, policies in a prejudiced way. At times it is essential to treat individuals in different ways to attain equality. This is because the difference amongst individuals may make it hard for them to enjoy their rights without sustenance from other people. Official fairness happens when rules and strategies demand different individuals to be treated the same way in that they should not be victimized. Equality of opportunity occurs when people may face limitations that may occur outside their control, such as race, gender, social status and, disability. Substantive equality pursues to guarantee equality of outcomes and equality of opportunity. It sees each person as equally entitled to fully enjoy equal rights irrespective of their capacity to contribute to society. Equal and inalienable is a general principle for all human beings. There exist two kinds of equality, substantive equality and formal equality. Formal equality shows that the laws and the government classify people differently and are treated differently too. Substantive equality defines the equality of opportunity and the equality of results.


Non-discrimination is a very important part of the principles of equality. It ensures that no single person is discriminated against and everybody is allowed all the rights and freedoms established without dissimilarity of any type based on race, gender, colour, religion, language, political, or any other factors.[3] Discrimination on other grounds is also forbidden. These grounds include nationality, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, and home of residence in a state. One of the puzzling features of non-discrimination is that does not forbid nations from treating people contrarily. This is because the values of equality and non-discrimination inter-relate.

The right to equality and non-discrimination consists of both positive and negative responsibilities. The duty to avoid discriminating fairness and the responsibility of protecting the accomplishment and satisfaction of the rights to equality and non-discrimination for everyone. There exists fairness before the law and equal fortification of the law. The principles of equality and non-discrimination interrelate with each other and are indivisible, interrelated, and interdependent with other human rights. For people to apply the principle of equality in different nations, the relevant criteria in respect of which people should be arbitrated to be similar or unlike should be well defined. The kind of equality we need to achieve should be defined, whether people must be given equal chances or if they should be located in the equivalent position.

Forms of Discrimination

Sex or gender judgment occurs in various methods, either in regulation or in exercise in nearly all nations. Violence against women is the most common form of gender discrimination. It includes sexual pestering and battering of girls and women. Other methods of discrimination against women are early child marriage and female genital mutilation which continues despite laws barring them against performing these practices. Criminal law in many states is partial against girls and women in the method rape is defined and prosecuted. In some countries, private rank laws governing marriage, child custody, separation, divorce, and inheritance do discriminate against women. Women in many counties face discrimination based on their dress codes. Also, gender discrimination in employment is found in almost every nation to some level.[4] The gender pay gap persists in most countries and women are subjected to low payment in their places of work. Women also face personal security in what money can buy, access to services, and benefits.

Discrimination based on race, ethnic groups, and skin colour are rampant all over the world and people suffer from all forms of exclusion and discrimination. People from the African continent are discriminated against based on skin colour and are not subjected to equal rights as those with white skin color. They are exploited and treated unfairly in some countries. They face all kinds of suffering which should not be the case because all humans are the same and equal rights are guaranteed to them. It, therefore, strengthens the relationship and friendship among people and different states globally.

Discrimination based on the origin of political views is often experienced by people from the opposition and this kind of discrimination takes different kinds of forms, from political torture and ill-treatment of the employers or on campuses by expelling them.[5] Millions of individuals across the globe are fatalities of discrimination based on socioeconomic position and secondary discrimination is pertinent in this situation. For example, the provision of public health care funds in some way places the subordinate communities so that they are not granted access to proper healthcare and the rich are given great advantages due to their social status.

Nationality and revocation status are also other forms of discrimination. In some countries, refugee internal workers are not protected by the laws of labor and are subjected to limiting migration instructions. The visa sponsorship scheme subjects workers to their employers and places the workers in danger of mistreatment which should not be the case. In some states, there is differential treatment of unmarried persons based on family status. It is an offense when consensual sex between unmarried persons happens. Age-based discrimination occurs such as abuse of the elderly, rejection of access to information, age limitations in admissions to learning institutions, unemployment of older workers, and forced withdrawal due to peoples’ age.

Discrimination based on disability affects most of the world’s population. People with disabilities do not enjoy equality as other people do. Methods of disability discrimination include rejection of realistic space in the employment sector, renunciation of contact to buildings, means of transport, isolation of children with disabilities in schools, and unnecessary limitations in lawful dimensions. People with disabilities face a lot of obstacles in terms of political participation and are stripped of their voting rights. [6]They are viewed by society as a burden since people assume that they can only depend on other people to obtain something and that they cannot enjoy equal rights as other people. Persons with mental disabilities are the most susceptible human beings in the world now. They stay in closed institutions, from mental hospitals to prisons and police detention cells which give them more torture. This is not the case as people with disabilities have a lot of abilities and they do help a lot in the socio-economic growth of a country. Most of these people have talents and skills that can be of advantage for the development of a country or even an organization, therefore they should never be looked down upon.

Discrimination on sexual alignment and gender uniqueness is rampant. At now, most of the countries continue to criminalize similar sexual relationships amongst adults. The LGBT communities across the world face increased discrimination and persecution. Some laws in different countries ban any effort in backing LGBT equality and demonize LGBT individuals and protestors. In most of the states there exists violence and entrenchment of the LGBT people and they enjoy impunity. Transgender people face subjective arrest, sexual and physical battering, custody, prejudiced renunciation of healthcare and jobs, and many other cases of abuse.

Discrimination based on language often occurs in terms of state-building schemes in recently independent countries. Language differences in service and employment are vindicated by the nature of the job and the eloquence of a particular language. They are seen as essential job requirements. Language should not be seen as a barrier to the development of a company, organization, or state. Everyone is entitled to be employed anywhere and the kind of language they should know does not have to be an essential requirement when seeking employment. People should use their language freely and at all places without any form of discrimination. This shows that there is equality in the job sector and every single person enjoys this right.

Religion is another basis of discrimination that takes place in many regions across the world today. In Europe, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are becoming tougher day by day. In Iraq, exploitations by Shia militias of Sunnis have reared the growth and spread of Daesh. In the.

Middle East, sectarian divisions drive viciousness and war. In dominant Muslim states, Christian Minorities face discrimination. As the cultural smaller members often have a religion that is dissimilar from that of the majority, the discrimination forms experience a lot of cases of ethnoreligious discrimination. In the employment sector, direct discrimination occurs, whereby the employer treats someone less favourably than other employees because of their religion.[7] Employers take unfair actions against an employee on the grounds of religion. Employees are bullied and treated unfairly at their places of work when they complain or raise a grievance.

Total poverty experienced by those whose pay is hardly enough for their existence remains extensive all over the world. Indigence levels have equally risen over time. Extreme poverty and suffering have affected a big portion of humankind and the hard work by the states and other organizations to eliminate it has been rendered futile. Extreme poverty shows that there exist injustices.[8] It shows that there is a violation of elementary human rights. Political judgments from the submission of political ideas show that the dissimilarities in revenue and living situations in and between nations are not well-defined as just or unjust.

How to achieve equality and non-discrimination

However, the equality and non-discrimination of human rights have improved drastically. People have achieved freedom from authoritative states. Larger equality and non-discrimination of human rights are shown in definite clusters such as the native people and disabled people. The fairness gap remains broader for refugees and refugee workers. There is an increasing worldwide consciousness of their dilemma. The subject of fairness of chances has complicated the exertions to limit whether the basis of social justice has been lost or gained. Apart from the unemployment issue, society has not offered people chances to participate in fruitful actions of their choice as they wish. This is called monetary justice as it signifies justice and fairness in the broader logic. The opening up of the global economy has given countries more opportunities to grow. Few oppose that economic liberty signifies a rudimentary human right.

Social justice is not possible without strong strategies that are executed by public works. The well-being of citizens of a country requires very maintainable economic growth, economic justice, and establishment of employment chances, and the development of individuals as human beings. All of these should be executed equally without any favour, and a corrupt-free government can easily execute this without favouritism. Certain human rights myths are believed by people in a society. Some say that human rights are for the upright citizens. But everybody is permitted to all the rights and freedoms declared in a state. These myths do discriminate against a lot of people and should be discouraged by all citizens at all costs.

Following the government prohibiting discrimination based on race, language, sex, and religion, the approval of the universal pronouncement of human rights and punishment of the wrongdoing of massacre is a significant step in the lawful alliance of equality before the law and the ban of discrimination. Every person has the entitlement to all the human rights that are established in this announcement. No difference should be made based on the political and jurisdictional position of a nation that an individual belongs to.

Minorities across the world should be protected against discrimination. This makes an essential portion of the intercontinental defence of human rights and it falls inside the choice of worldwide cooperation. Their rights and freedoms should also be protected.[9] A democratic society should create good conditions enabling the subgroups to express, preserve, and grow their identities without any kind of discrimination. Concrete positive measures are required for national minorities.

European Court had to grow further its understanding of discrimination. States treat different persons differently without providing a reasonable justification for doing so. The European Court of Human rights has recognized that the countries appreciate particular gratitude in evaluating if there are differences and to what range they are in alike circumstances and their justifications of different treatment.

Some comprehensive and commanding lawful verdicts that define equality of treatment and non-discrimination in international human rights law. Full attention has been given to the judicial nature. Many individuals in the society suffer greater discrimination than some of those who were noticed by the international monitoring associations. The case law plainly defines the solutions to be undertaken under more serious circumstances because it establishes general legal steps that guide lawmakers and legal professions in drafting laws and enforcement of the right to equality and non-discrimination.

People in different states should be guaranteed freedom of movement and residence without discrimination based on race, color, national, or ethnicity. Measures or any actions that restrict freedom of movement and residence should be done away with.[10] The United States committee statement based on racial discrimination noted that police brutality including cases of death as a result of force by police affects the minority groups and the foreigners. The police force should be trained and warned against racial discrimination as they would face the law. There should be equal treatment in all state tribunals and all organs that administer justice. Due to racial discrimination, the level of unemployment is high among foreigners and difficulty accessing employment by members of the ethnic minorities. Foreigners should have access to work permits and it has to guarantee that the foreigners who have acquired their work permits are not discriminated against in terms of access to employment.

In the representation of the matrimonial property, both parties should be entitled to representing property and owning it. The case of gender inequality should not be there because they both have equal rights of ownership of possession. In most countries, women are viewed as inferior and men as superior. They are denied access to a lot of the necessary amenities. Both men and women should enjoy all civil and political rights. Equality should be enjoyed by both genders and there should be no discrimination based on sex.

The right to family life should also be well respected. The choice of married couples in their matrimonial states should be respected and receive the non-citizen partners for settling in the nation. Certain provisions have been violated due to the variances of treatment in safeguarding the right to respect family life based on sex and race. A difference in treatment is discriminatory by law and if it has no objective of a sensible relationship then it should be well looked at so that there is fair treatment. It was easier for a man to easily settle in a different nation than for women. The government of the United Kingdom argued that the variance in treatment was a result of limiting primary immigration and it was vindicated by the need of the state to guard the local labor market when a high unemployment rate arises and it was considered legitimate and a wise decision by the state.

Following the death of a spouse, equal treatment should be given to the widows since they would have their retirement pension irrespective of their income, on the other hand, widowers could obtain a pension if only they did not have any other source of revenue.[11] The widowers mainly face discrimination since they are not allowed the entitlement of owning property left by the husband. This is a kind of gender-based violence that is not right because gender differences should not be entertained in society. They are also humans.

The American States is obligated to respect international human rights law. All the organs of the state should strictly respect the rights of the citizens and exercise human rights by law. It is unacceptable for human rights to be violated and respect of human rights helps to attain the migratory policy objects that are contained in the law. The American State can restrict the enjoyment of some rights when ordered by the court of law.

In all the states, international human rights law contains a wider variety of rules and norms governing workers’ rights. The labor rights given by the ministry are contained in the law. Other states determine the scope of the regional human rights rules concerning every individual worker’s rights. All workers should receive a right to remuneration for work performed. This right is closer to civil and political rights because they directly impact certain rights such as the right to property or the right to legal personality. The irregular migrant workers and their family members are the most vulnerable in society. The state must provide particular protection and avoid taking oppressive measures that do not give labor rights to such people, and this is not the goal that is being sought since it has differing effects.

Human rights such as the right to equality may be denied to some persons but their limitations must respond to the criteria of proportionality and necessity so that legitimate objectives can be achieved. Putting into action the actions to control uneven migration into a nation’s land is a reasonable aim.[12] However, if such measures are aimed at stripping immigrants of the right of remuneration from work, then it is urgent to look into the matter. The measures should be considered if there exist other measures that are less restrictive of the existing right. Certain mechanisms can be used to control irregular immigration into another state’s land. This include penalty to those who employ workers that are undocumented criminally, reinforcing border immigration controls, using mechanisms to validate the legal status to avoid fabrication of documents, deportation of undocumented individuals, and punishing those who obligate crimes by law. It is not necessary to strip migrant workers of the payment for which they have already worked. These measures appear to be a punishment and it also affects their families. International agreement on the safety of the refugee workers’ rights and their relations serves as a chaperon to show that some restrictions to receive the right to remuneration for work done are neither proportionate nor necessary.

In the international law of human rights, one of the important principles even though it is not fully recognized is the principle of equality and non-discrimination. It is important because it guards the human rights of the immigrants and those of the undocumented migrant workers specifically. Apart from the element of equality which is essential to the rule of law, the other important element if non-discrimination assumes the most important part in the exercise of the protected rights. Discrimination is aimed at being eliminated because it violates human rights. The prohibition of discrimination entails making use of human rights and also exercising them fully. Discrimination does not give a reasonable justification and dies not also keep a fair balance between the means used and its purpose to the state.

The pillars of the international human rights law are equality and non-discrimination. They are also important in integrating international customary law. The international doctrines and the case law identify the illegitimate bases of discrimination, since discrimination only occurs based on the sole elements, for example, race. What the organizations and the states have us to eliminate the whole manner of discrimination and always have in mind its components.[13] It is desirable to have all the attention on all the areas that show discriminatory behaviors including those that are neglected or ignored at the international level. The causes of migration are due to population movement and it is not a guarantee that the principles of equality and non-discrimination are given more attention to by the United Nations. The basic idea is that internally displaced persons should enjoy equal rights as other people and should not be discriminated against as a result of their displacement.[14] They are protected by the norms of the international law of human rights.

Democratic forms of administration are endorsed so that they deliver its citizens equivalent rights of radical involvement and also equality of liberties that protects the citizens from the majority. These include freedom of association, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of pursuits, etc. A democratic society should be embraced without the inheritance of class privilege. There should be freedom of profession with equal rights to chances and also economic rights. This enables the members of the society and state to be independent and not economically exploited by others. The democracy of a state should allow the debate and discussion on how to resolve the issues and conflicts that are concerned with the rights and common interests of the people. This is where the democratic rights of the citizens are exercised.

Equal rights do us an intrinsic good since the only way to guarantee it is by maximizing and incorporating them directly into the ultimate good. This is entirely very appropriate. The equality and dignity of people in a state and also respect for individuals are the most important since they are promoted and protected as intrinsic values. In case we don’t understand the value of equality, we must know and treat all persons with esteem.

Human rights are broadly recognized as an effort to show people that there exists morality and it governs living together peacefully as humans. Human rights are important in guiding interests and their welfare. These rights defend the most significant parts of an entity’s life and they can be able to engage in social relationships with people and to be culturally active. Human rights are hypothetical to be the compulsory representatives to human beings if they affect somebody’s human rights. Violation of human rights leads to severe moral wring that is if the fundamental interests and welfare of individuals are not equally protected. Individuals must abide by human rights so that they can act morally at all times.

Human rights disadvantage state power in two forms which include, the negative disadvantage that describes the positive actions that a state can take and the positive claims that describes what the state can do. Human rights counter the threats that arise from a particular state which is known as the modern state since it has a range of special powers. They defend human rights on the monopoly of power that is demanded by the current nation inside the boundaries of its state, the dominion on the global level, and the nation’s entitlement to control each zone on the lives of the inhabitants. Conquest of opposing carriers of power which had always been stood went hand in hand with the rejection of the political impression that political authorities should coexist side by side.

The classification of human rights as specific rights limits state dominion and it gives rise to the impression that the presence of human rights presupposes the actual presence of a nation’s power.[15] This impression would be misguided because individual rights can exist without the actual existence of state power. The separation of human rights and the real being of states display that they are not lawfully shaped rights but must have their foundation in positive principles. In this case, they are moral rights or natural rights.

The delinquent of poverty with deference to human rights is of great concern. There are robust responsibilities to help the deprived because poverty is a dangerous situation and the rich globally can help without solemn risk to themselves. There exists a difference as far as the responsibility for failure to offer support in a case of emergency is concerned. It always makes a great difference when a moral ring us accountable to a specific individual. Since poverty is a societal human rights problem, then a necessity for acceptable preparations should be done to ensure that these rights are secured. Employments should be offered to the jobless and the elderly in society should be given access to food and necessities. Organization donations for them are also important and it shows that we value human life at all costs.

A descriptive moral contingency is easier to describe. A descriptive ethical relativism shows us that different societies, cultures, and social groups accept different types of moral codes. The conflicts existing amongst these ethical codes have to be important. Dissimilar situations require norms of conduct. For vivid moral beliefs to be accurate, there should be a change in the elementary customs. Eloquent ethical relativism is accepted to be a more or less extreme form. A metaethical contingent delivers responses to the nature of moral truths or facts, the nature of moral beliefs, moral knowledge, and its nature, and the way the meaning of sentences are analyzed.

A society with morals and sees that human rights are observed is acceptable. Many states are still trying to educate their citizens on the importance of having good morals and ensuring that every individual is treated fairly and those discriminating against the less fortunate in the society face the wrath of the law.[16] The states which fully know the importance of equal rights enjoy socio-economic and political norms. It is unimaginable that the possessions protected by human rights do not make a portion of the ethical scheme of ethically tolerable culture. These goods are protected by the moral norms in society.

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The responsibility of the states is to protect rights and see that people are not discriminated against. All governments are to protect the life of their citizens, liberty, and security. They should ensure that no one is subjected to slavery, arbitrary arrest, detention, or torture. Every citizen is subjected to a fair trial in the court of law and that there is no corruption and favouritism based on superiority. The governments are supposed to recover the living situations of all the citizens and make sure that there is equal distribution of resources. [17]The right to freedom of countenance thought belief and conscience must be well protected. Also, every individual should see that everyone is treated fairly, no one should be abused based on something that is irrelevant and demeans human life. All the rights should be promoted without discernment of any form.


The concept of equality and non-discrimination has evolved significantly over time. The lawful values have been drawn and the human rights forms and courts of law have advanced a rich and strict jurisdiction, giving a solid constituent to the subject of equality and non-discrimination. The most significant task now is ensuring that every human being enjoys the right to equality and non-discrimination. Equal rights remain an unsatisfied aptitude for a great part of the inhabitants. A very important component states that all individuals can partake on an equal foundation in all the parts of social, economic, and political life with choices of how equality must be recognized in all aspects of life for every individual.


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Cumper P, and Lewis T, Empathy and Human Rights (1st edition, Oxford University 2018)

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[1] Judith Blau and Alberto Moncada, Human Rights (1st edition New York 2015) 195

[2] Judith Blau and Alberto Moncada, Human Rights (1st edition New York 2015) 147

[3] Peter Vallentyne, The Routledge Handbook of the Ethics of Discrimination (1st edition Missouri 2017)133

[4] Ingrid Nifosi-Sutton, The Protection of Vulnerable Groups under International Human Rights Law (1st edition, London 2017) 216

[5] Peter Vallentyne, The Routledge Handbook of the Ethics of Discrimination (1st edition Missouri 2017)139

[6] Ingrid Nifosi-Sutton, The Protection of Vulnerable Groups under International Human Rights Law (1st edition, London 2017) 221

[7] Peter Cumper and Tom Lewis, Empathy and Human Rights (1st edition, Oxford University 2018) 63

[8] Peter Cumper and Tom Lewis, Empathy and Human Rights (1st edition, Oxford University 2018) 76

[9] Nadia Bernaz, Business and Human Rights (1st edition, London 2016) 212

[10] Ingrid Nifosi-Sutton, The Protection of Vulnerable Groups under International Human Rights Law (1st edition, London 2017) 153

[11] Nadia Bernaz, Business and Human Rights (1st edition, London 2016) 114

[12] Peter Vallentyne, The Routledge Handbook of the Ethics of Discrimination (1st edition Missouri 2017)135

[13] Nadia Bernaz, Business and Human Rights (1st edition, London 2016) 196

[14] Ingrid Nifosi-Sutton, The Protection of Vulnerable Groups under International Human Rights Law (1st edition, London 2017) 76

[15] Judith Blau and Alberto Moncada, Human Rights (1st edition New York 2015) 173

[16] Ingrid Nifosi-Sutton, The Protection of Vulnerable Groups under International Human Rights Law (1st edition, London 2017) 133

[17] Judith Blau and Alberto Moncada, Human Rights (1st edition New York 2015) 177

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