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Cover Jacobs, White, and Ovey: The European Convention on Human Rights

24. Freedom from Discrimination  

This chapter examines the protection of the freedom of discrimination in the European Convention on Human Rights, discusses the provisions of Article 14 and Protocol 12, and explains the issues to consider in evaluating allegations of violations of Article 14. It highlights the problems in the application of Article 14 and suggests that the range of ratifications to Protocol 12 does not suggest that the development of a generic equality law under the Convention is foreseeable. The chapter also analyses the judgments made by the Strasbourg Court in relation to Article 14 and Protocol 12. It notes the development of indirect discrimination and the Court’s increasing use of ‘stereotyping’, intersectionality, and vulnerability in its judgments.


Cover International Human Rights Law

8. Equality and Non-Discrimination  

Daniel Moeckli

The principle of equality and non-discrimination has gained a prominent status in virtually every liberal democratic state as well as in international law. However, what this fundamental rule entails in practice is difficult to establish. The challenge is to give substance to the abstract notion of equality by translating it into concrete legal formulations that clarify which forms of unequal treatment are legitimate because they are based on morally acceptable criteria and which ones are wrongful. This chapter explains how this challenge has been addressed in international human rights law. It first discusses the meaning of equality and non-discrimination and gives an overview of the different norms guaranteeing equality and non-discrimination in international human rights law, followed by an explanation of the concepts of direct and indirect discrimination. The chapter then considers the requirements for a difference in treatment to be justified under international human rights law and sets out the various obligations that the right to equality imposes on states, in particular their duty to take positive action to ensure everyone can enjoy that right.