Skip to main content

Discrimination is the favourable or unfavourable treatment of a person or thing based on criteria other than individual merit - for example, gender, race, or other categories the person or thing belongs to. Not all discrimination is unlawful.

Discrimination is the treatment of an individual based on criteria other than their individual merit. While this can be favourable treatment, for instance affirmative action, common usage tends to refer to unfavourable treatment.

Many countries have legislated to make discrimination on some bases, for example, gender and race.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that:

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Other United Nations also seek to address certain kinds of discrimination:

  • International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
  • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
  • Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities