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Were you ever treated in a way worse than someone else? Were you able to justify why you were treated that way? If you weren’t able to justify the way you are treated it is likely that you HAVE been discriminated against.

Discrimination affects the very being of a person, it is harming someone’s rights simply because of who they are or what they believe. It wasn’t long ago that, a woman couldn’t vote just by virtue of being a woman, the gays couldn’t get married on account of being gay and the disabled till date can only visit 10% of the world as 90% is still not accessible to them. People may experience more than one form of discrimination. A person may experience discrimination because of his or her health status and because of his or her race, gender identity or sexual orientation, compounding the effects on the individual and the wider community. While there are certain forms of discrimination that can be attributed to social constructs, there are still various countries which enforce such discrimination through laws and policies which are either directly or indirectly discriminatory in nature. By law, women cannot dress as they like in Saudi Arabia, Iran or work at night in Madagascar or take out a loan without their husband’s signature in Equatorial Guinea. This might come as shock, but Uganda’s Ethics and Integrity Minister announced in 2019 that the government was planning to introduce the death penalty for consensual same-sex sexual acts. Discrimination is never isolated; one instance of discrimination is only a precedent for the next one. While India abolished untouchability in 1950, the rights enjoyed by a Dalit woman are still considerably lower than the rights of say a Brahmin girl.

Although Governments have a moral and legal obligation—under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, human rights treaties, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other international obligations—to remove discriminatory laws and to enact laws that protect people from discrimination, it is people like you and me that have to be the watchdogs and hold our government’s responsible. It is only through collective bargaining that one can phantom to achieve zero discrimination. While collective bargaining is a process through which employees negotiate better terms of employment with their employee, history is witness to the fact that it is only through a collective unified front that equal rights can be achieved for each human being. As responsible members of the society it is our undeniable duty to not just be bystanders, it is imperative to call out discrimination whenever we see it.


Authored by

Laavanya Kaushik


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