Discrimination and human rights

The issue of discrimination is one that raises many complex questions from the human rights corpus’ perspective. A mere superficial examination of the question opens up an infinite number of entries. From gender, to freedom of conscience, including cultural diversity and sexual orientation, these are as many themes as differences, real or perceived, that make humanity. To solve it by simply affirming equal rights does not reflect the complexity of the social and political practices, nor does it bring responses. If, for example, in judicial matters, beyond legal cultures, the notion of fair trial meets easily identifiable criteria that has international consensus, it is not sure that everyone agrees on the definition of what constitutes discrimination and even less agree on possible remedies, and the paradox, at least apparent, of having to discriminate in order to bring about equality. Not considering the scientific developments, which exacerbate the very nature of these questions because they directly relate to the definition and conception of humanity but not the preservation of the human body. The intrusion of a "moral" dimension or claiming "values" relating to a given civilization, which does not belong to this field of reflection but which weighs on it particularly, opens the way to a denial of universality that allows itself to relativize such and such damage made ??to individual or collective rights, whose very existence is sometimes questioned.

Reflecting on these questions requires us first to define the scope, given the constraints of time, space and participation.

The issue of equality between men / women and gender divides mankind into two parts and goes far beyond discrimination striking a particular group, it seems therefore best not to include it and address it separately.

It is not possible to bring here a handbook of solutions or a list of good recipes but to understand, first, the ways and means by which a consensus can be reached, in accordance with international standards or if necessary complement them to describe discrimination in real life situations.

The rights of cultural minorities have their prominent place here with this double question: what should be protected? How could we preserve everyone’s right to live their own culture without turning minority rights into some kind of house arrest? Does the link between the application of a general rule and the possible hypothesis, for various reasons, of changing that general rule in certain places fit in a discriminatory approach or does it respond to an exercise of citizenship that does not fall solely within the framework of the nation state? As an exercise of equal rights, is there only one meaning of citizenship or could it evolve, without prejudice to fundamental rights, depending on places?

Are equal rights the only possible response to the collective rights of cultural minorities? The same question applies to the formation of nation states for all concerned minorities.

Finally, can this question be answered outside of a democratic system and, in this context, what is the role of institutional stakeholders involved in the fight against discrimination towards stakeholders reporting directly to civil society?

This theme could be held as a plenary seminar followed by a debate.

This thematic forum is proposed by the Euro-Mediterranean Network for Human Rights.