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In the past two weeks, Freedom Friday has addressed the issue of human rights.  We have recognized that every person is entitled to claim his or her human rights and to demand that they be protected, respected, and fulfilled.  This week’s article addresses principles of “equality” and “non-discrimination.”

In its simplest sense, the word “equality” may be defined as meaning “the same as,” “equivalent,” “matching,” or “identical.”  In a human rights context, “equality” is used to mean that we are all the same in one fundamental way: regardless of our differences we all possess inherent worth. We are all equally entitled to human rights simply because we are human, and the qualities that make us unique and different should not make us superior or inferior in regard to rights.

When we use the word “non-discrimination,” it’s helpful first to consider what the word “discrimination” means.  In its most basic sense, to “discriminate” means to “distinguish,” to “differentiate,” or to “treat differently.”  To say that someone has been “discriminated against” typically means that they have not only been treated differently but unfairly.  The principle of “non-discrimination” encompasses the commitment not to engage in discrimination and to take steps to counter more subtle and indirect forms of discrimination.

So, equality and non-discrimination not only interact with each other, they are fundamentally inseparable, interrelated, and interdependent with all other human rights.

Information came from “Understanding the Human Rights of Persons With Disabilities” a publication of the University of Minnesota Human Rights Resource Center.

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