Equality and non-discrimination

Man in Keynya

The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has noted in its General Comment No. 19 that States parties are obligated to ensure that social protection measures encourage behaviour that advances equality. Thus, discrimination on the basis of race, colour, sex, age, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, physical or mental disability, health status, sexual orientation, and civil, political, social or other status, which has the intention or effect of nullifying or impairing the equal enjoyment or exercise of the right to social security is prohibited (para 29).

Social security programmes should address power imbalances and the multiple forms of discrimination that disadvantaged and vulnerable groups experience, as well as their specific needs throughout their lives: during adolescence, adulthood and old age.

In its preamble, ILO Recommendation 202 recognizes that social security is an important tool to prevent and reduce poverty, inequality, social exclusion and social insecurity; and to promote equal opportunity and gender and racial equality. It emphasizes States’ responsibility to apply the principle of equality in implementing the Recommendation (para 3d), as well as specifying the critical role of disaggregated data for the effective monitoring of the floors (paras 19 and 21). Moreover, several of the basic guarantees that national social protection floors should establish, such as basic income security for those unable to earn an income, adequate access to healthcare that is available accessible, acceptable, and adequate (para 5).

 

Photo credit: “Bright orange” by Kent Yoshimura (CCBY 2.0 via Flickr).

 

Expert Commentaries

Leaving No One Behind: Social protection for children from ethnic and linguistic minorities

“I would like to go for walks more. Now mom and dad don’t allow it because others discriminate against us. This happens to us all the time. People say that we are dirty and discuss our clothes.” Girl, 14-16, Roma, from Montenegro What does it mean for a child or an adolescent belonging to an […]

Legal Cases

Protection against Employment Discrimination in the Republic of Korea

Nature of the Case Upon consideration of a communication submitted before it, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination held the Republic of Korea accountable for multiple violations of rights under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, including the right to work, and access to an effective […]

Women’s Property and Inheritance Rights in Tanzania

Nature of the Case In views adopted under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women held the United Republic of Tanzania accountable for multiple violations of women’s rights, particularly as relates to their inheritance and property rights. Summary […]

Measures to ensure equality of treatment of migrant workers in case of work-related accident in Thailand

In previous observations on the application of the Equality of Treatment (Accident Compensation) Convention, No 19, the Committee of Experts had expressed deep concerns over the situation of more than 2 million migrants working in Thailand. In response to these concerns, the Thai Government argued that the Workmen’s Compensation Act B.E 2537 of 1994 (WCA) […]

Resources

Cash transfers: what does the evidence say? A rigorous review of programme impact and of the role of design and implementation features

Cash transfers have been increasingly adopted by countries worldwide as central elements of their social protection and poverty reduction strategies. A growing number of studies provide rigorous evidence on the impact of cash transfers, and the role of specific cash transfer design and implementation features in shaping outcomes. This rigorous review of the impact of […]

Protecting Women’s Income Security in Old Age: Toward gender-responsive pension systems

This brief synthesizes research findings, analysis and policy recommendations on transforming pension systems to reduce gender gaps and protect women’s income security in old age. Ageing has a female face. Women not only live longer than men but are also less likely to enjoy income security and economic independence in old age. Because of a […]

Migration Governance and Migrant Rights in the Southern African Development Community (SADC): Attempts at Harmonization in a Disharmonious Region

This paper examines prospects for enhanced regional migration governance and protection of migrants’ rights in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Migration in this region is substantial in scale and diverse in nature, incorporating economic, political and mixed migration flows. In addition to movements between countries within the region, migrants also come from across the […]

Eliminating Discrimination and Inequalities in Access to Water and Sanitation

Patterns of marginalisation and exclusion are present all over the world, with stark and persisting inequalities in access to water and sanitation. Progress made in the water and sanitation sector does not always benefit those who are most in need of these services, in particular the poorest, people living in informal settlements and/or people marginalised […]

Public policies for equality: Towards universal social protection systems

Outcomes of the international seminar “Public Policies for Equality: Towards Universal Social Protection Systems”, which was held in Montevideo, Uruguay, on 4 and 5 December 2013. The objective of the seminar was to foster the debate on and the construction of universal social protection systems in the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean; disseminate the good […]