The principle of non-discrimination in international law

The end of the Second World War, and the discovery of the aberrations of Nazism in 1945 represent the turning point and departure point of international activities for the protection of human rights, as they mark the beginning of the creation of a system of rules international efforts to bind States to respect a series of human rights. In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (10 December 1948), the principle of non-discrimination is indicated as one of the general principles for the enjoyment of human rights. In this sense, the prohibition of discrimination belongs to the hard core of the General International Law that constitutes the Ius Cogens, which all are unconditionally obliged to respect. Each individual is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in the present Declaration, without distinction, for reasons of race, color, sex, language, religion, political opinion or otherwise, of national or social origin. , of wealth, birth or other condition. (Article 2) From the international point of view, the first and fundamental reference to the principle of non-discrimination is contained in the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (General Assembly Resolution No. of 21 December 1965). The Convention defines, in Article 1, as racial discrimination “any distinction, exclusion, limitation or preference based on race, skin color, descent or national or ethnic origin, which has the purpose or effect of canceling or compromising the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal level, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social and cultural fields or in any other area of ​​public life “. The Convention also provided for the establishment of a Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination with tasks to protect the application of the Convention through the study of the relations of States parties to the Convention. The right not to be discriminated against its origin is now widely recognized, reported in all international human rights records, confirming that in the UN the fight against racism and racial discrimination has represented since the establishment of the organization a primary goal. In this sense, the General Assembly reaffirmed its commitment over the years by convening three World Conferences (1978, 1983 and 2001), and proclaiming three Decades dedicated to the fight against racism and racial discrimination (1973-1982, 1983- 1992 and 1994-2003). Among the other documents on the matter, we have also:

  • the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Apartheid Crime;
  • the Convention against Discrimination in Education;
  • the Declaration on the elimination of all forms of intolerance and discrimination based on religion and / or beliefs.

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