Training Outline

2.3 Standard Lecture: The Principle of Non-discrimination (15 minutes)

  • Explain to participants that a key element of this human rights based approach is the adoption of non-discrimination laws and policies. Emphasize that people with disabilities are inherently equal human beings and thus entitled to equal treatment and equal opportunities, particularly with respect to employment.

    Use Transparency 14 to illustrate the principle of non-discrimination, which is a cross cutting principle in international human rights law. The principle is present in all major human rights conventions, including the UN CRPD. Discrimination on the basis of disability is defined in Article 2 of the Convention as “any distinction, exclusion or restriction on the basis of disability which has the purpose or effect of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal basis with others, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field. It includes all forms of discrimination, including denial of reasonable accommodation.” Article 5 of the Convention elaborates on the principle of non-discrimination, recognizing that, “Specific measures which are necessary to accelerate or achieve de facto equality of persons with disabilities shall not be considered discrimination.” Indeed, employment practices are not considered to be discriminatory when based on the actual and real needs of a job, if they are meant to promote equality by affirmative action.

    Legislation prohibiting discrimination is now regarded as an essential element of the response to employment discrimination (Transparency 15). The object of non-discrimination legislation is to prohibit discrimination on the ground of disability, as well as other grounds. An increasing number of States prohibit discrimination on the ground of disability, particularly in the field of employment, either through comprehensive laws applying to different groups in the population as a whole, or disability-specific laws. This reflects the increasing acknowledgement that disability is frequently used as a reason to exclude people with disabilities and to deny them equal employment opportunities, where this is not justified in the given circumstances. The objective of such laws is to combat the exclusion of people with disabilities, and the denial of equal opportunities because of particular characteristics, such as disability. By making disability a protected ground, the law extends protection against discriminatory behaviour and punishes those people who violate the non-discrimination norm.

  • Use Transparency 16 to explain to participants the different forms and foci that disability non-discrimination law and policies can take. Ask participants to generate some additional locally-relevant areas where a law or policy can protect people with disabilities from unequal treatment. Have participants write down the examples provided.
  • Use Transparency 17 to highlight how non-discrimination against people with disabilities can be one of several grounds on which discrimination is prohibited, such as the grounds of gender, ethnic origin, race or religion. Ask participants to generate some additional locally-relevant areas in which protected status is ensured by law. Record participant responses on flipchart paper.
  • Also use Transparency 17 to explain how non-discrimination law can help raise awareness as well as to contain provisions for equal treatment between persons with, and persons without, disabilities. Highlight with the examples provided in the transparency.