You have the right to enjoy your human rights on an equal basis with other individuals. This also means the right to protection from discrimination. Unfortunately, situations involving discrimination occur in many situations of life and are committed by both public officials and individuals. Therefore, it is important to be able to identify discrimination and to know how to defend your rights.

Discrimination occurs in cases where persons in analogous situations are treated differently simply because of who they are, without objective and reasonable justification. Most often discrimination takes place in relation to gender, racial or ethnic origin, disability, age, sexual orientation or religion.

example If Parliament adopts a law stipulating that only men, but not women, are allowed to work as police, this is discriminatory. If the law provides for equal protection, but a state agency denies unemployment benefits to Muslims, this will constitute discrimination. However, if a younger job applicant is appointed ahead of an older applicant, it may not constitute discrimination, if the successful applicant had a better education and/or job experience.

Discrimination may also occur in cases where persons whose situations are significantly different, are treated in the same manner.

Discrimination & Human Rights

Discrimination results in the exclusion and rejection of people, and a denial of their rights. Therefore, discrimination is prohibited under human rights law. Other human rights may also be affected in situations where discrimination has occurred, for example, the right to life, the prohibition of inhumane or degrading treatment, the right to a fair trial and the right to private and family life. Read more about discrimination and human rights.

About this Guide

This Guide explains how you can recognize discrimination and what your rights are if you have been discriminated against. Learning to identify discrimination and about your rights can help you to prepare for action.


Last updated 16/12/2022