Religious discrimination continues to be a global problem- #EndDiscrimination - Seeker's Thoughts

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Religious discrimination continues to be a global problem- #EndDiscrimination

Around the world, millions of people suffer from discrimination. 
They are denied basic rights, freedom, opportunity, and dignity, based on their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and other difference. 
Discrimination not only violates basic human rights, but has widespread social and economic consequences. Despite advances in law and public policy in many  countries and contexts, far too many people are still left behind.

What is Discrimination?

Discrimination is the selection for unfavourable treatment of an individual or individuals on the basis of gender, race, colour or ethnic or national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, social class, age, or as result of any conditions or requirements that do not accord with the principles of fairness and natural justice.

Some reports                                                                     

Despite 25 years of impressive global development, many people are not benefitting from progress due to persistent discrimination. 
According to the 2017 Human Development Report that overall human development has improved significantly across all region of the world since 1990. Yet despite these general improvements, poverty and inequality have persisted.

The world has come a long way in rolling back extreme poverty, in improving access to education, health and sanitation, in expanding possibilities for women and girl.

picture courtesy - UN news
The report described how poverty and exclusion have remained, even in developed countries, where over 3oo million people—including more than one-third of all children- live in relative poverty.

Sexual orientation discrimination

Across the world, the LGBT community is continuously subjected to myriad forms of oppression. 80 countries have laws barring same-sex relations or discussion of gay rights. In some countries, homosexuality is even punishable by death.

Religious Discrimination

Religious discrimination continues to be a global problem, as it has been for centuries.
In the US, for example, 17.1% of hate crimes victims in 2014 were targeted because of their religion. According to a study from PEW RESEARCH, around a quarter of the world’s religious groups face hostilities in their countries. 

Sometimes this occurs in the form of social hostilities, but much government also place restrictions on certain religious groups.
Looking at overall limitations on religious, PEW found around 39% of countries has high or very high religious restrictions. This means around 5.5 billion people live in societies with these restrictions.

Religious freedom is a basic tenet that should be upheld in every modern society, and people should not be persecuted on the basis of their beliefs.

The reasons for poverty and exclusion are often related to discrimination based on race, gender or migration status, the report found. 

Some of those most likely to live in poverty include indigenous people and people with disabilities. 

Meanwhile, more than 250 million people worldwide face discrimination solely on the basis of caste or another similar inherited lower status within society.

Discrimination against women and girls

The largest group to be discriminated against globally is women and girls. Women are still poorer and earn less than men in every country globally and in 18 countries, women need their husband’s approval to work, the report found. 
Women now make up slightly less than half of the world’s population due to discrimination before and at birth through sex-selective abortion and infanticide.

March 1st Zero Discrimination Day
Zero Discrimination Day, an annual event for people across the globe to come together and take a stand against bigotry, oppression and divisiveness. 

It’s a sad fact that people live in a world where human rights and civil liberties are violated in horrible ways on daily basis, and no country is immune to this.

It is celebrated by UN another international organizations, the day is celebrated to promote everyone’s right, regardless of age, gender sexuality, nationality, ethnicity, skin colour etc.

 Zero discrimination Day aims to raise the voice for the right to live life with dignity, despite one’s choices, beliefs, profession, education, disability or even illness.

Zero Discrimination Day and UNAIDS

Zero Discrimination Day was first celebrated on March 1, 2014, and was launched by UNAIDS Executive director at Beijing after UNAIDS launched its zero discrimination campaign on world AIDS Day in December 2013.

Zero Discrimination Day is particularly noted by organisations like UNAIDS that combat discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS since HIV related stigma and discrimination is pervasive and exists in almost every part of the world.

From India, AIDS Healthcare foundation (AHF) joins the campaign every year to generate awareness on discrimination and pertinent policies that will help mitigate stigma.

Discrimination in India

Cases of severe discrimination continue to be witnessed in India since its independence. In India every year millions of people face discrimination and even killed by it. 
India has a population of different castes, religion and culture. Inspite of several strict laws discrimination in India is very common due to outdated and conservative society. Lower caste and minority communities and transgender is the most affected people in India.

Also person with disabilities, persons from North-Eastern states, unmarried couple and non-vegetarian people are also included.

According to the civil society report, gender inequalities have curbed the progress of women in India, while caste has played an important role in the exclusion of a community which consists or more than 201 million people in the country. 
The report said religious minorities, differently able, elderly and people with different sexual orientation have also faced similar discrimination in social-economic and political aspects of life.
All United Nations member states are committed to achieving SDGs Agenda 2030 consisting of 17 goals and 169 targets, relating to economic, social and environmental development. Each country, through the government and other stakeholders, including local governments, business and the civil society, is expected to identify, implement and report on specific actions that lead to their achievement.

The government finally has to translate these goals and targets into national policies, to implement these policies and to measure their implementation.

Direct discrimination in India
-         An employer refuses to interview a candidate because he belongs to a scheduled caste. This is direct discrimination in relation to caste.
-         An employer fires a female employee after her marriage because he makes the assumption that married women do not make efficient workers. This is prima facie direct discrimination in relation to sex.
-         A hospital hires only female nurses based on the assumption that women are more caring than men. This is prima facie direct discrimination in relation to sex.
-         A housing society advertisement offers an apartment on rent to married couples. This prima facie direct discrimination in relation to marital status.
-          A university has a policy of conducting random security checks of student hostel rooms. In practice, this policy is only invoked to check rooms of Kashmiri students. This is prima facie direct discrimination in relation to ethnicity, descent and linguistic identity.

Indirect discrimination in India
-         An employer pays part-time workers at a lower at hourly rate than full-time workers doing the same work. A majority of part-time workers in his establishment are women but a majority of full-time workers are men. This prima facie indirect discrimination in relation to ethnicity, descent and linguistic identity.
-         A housing society only rents out apartment to persons with master’s degrees. In the relevant geographical Ares, person belonging to be scheduled castes are substantially less likely to have master’s degrees compared with others. This is prima facie indirect discrimination in relation to caste.
-         A milk delivery company has policy of not supplying milk to butchers. Most butchers in that locality are Muslims. This is prima facie indirect discrimination in relation religion.

Prima Facie – In an employment setting, a prima facie case of discrimination is where the victim has sufficient evidence to prove discrimination against them. Unless the victim is able to present evidence to the contrary, the employee victim will likely prevail.

Constitutional laws against discrimination in India

Article 15 (1) and (2) prohibit the state from discriminating any citizen on the ground of any religion, race caste, sex place of birth or any of them. 
These articles provide that there shall be no restriction on any person on any of the above bases to access and use public places such as shops, restaurants, hotels, places of public entertainment. Etc. Or the use of wells, tanks, bathing Ghats, roads and places of public resort maintained wholly or partly out of state funds or dedicated to the use of the general public.

From article 15 (3) onwards, the constitution starts protective discrimination. Article 15 (3) empowers the state to make special provisions for women and children. Articles 15 (4) empowers the state to make special provisions for the advancement of socially and educationally backward or SC/STs. Articles 15 (5) goes one step further and empowers the state to make a reservation in admission into education institution (such as madarsas) have been left out of this provision. Thus, article 15 (3) and 15(4) are foundational bricks of reservation in the country.

Coming to article 16, articles 16 (1) and (2) give a general rule that there shall be equal opportunity for all citizens in government jobs. However, article 16(3), 16(4-A) and 16(4-B) provide further strength to all sorts of discrimination among the people on account of their unequal status.

-         Article 16(3) allows the state to make any law making residence qualifications necessary in the case of government jobs, thus making domicile provisions stronger.

-         Article 16(4) allows the state to make a reservation for any backward class of citizens which in the opinion of the state is not adequately represented in services. This opens a door for OBC reservations.

-         Article 16(4-A) empowers the state to make the reservation in promotion also for SCs, STs and OBCs.

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