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Human Rights in International LawLegal and Policy Issues$
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Theodor Meron

Print publication date: 1986

Print ISBN-13: 9780198255406

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198255406.001.0001

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Race, Sex, and Religious Discrimination in International Law *

Race, Sex, and Religious Discrimination in International Law *

(p.306) (p.307) Chapter 8 Race, Sex, and Religious Discrimination in International Law*
Human Rights in International Law

Jack Greenberg

Oxford University Press

This chapter deals with the prohibition of discrimination on grounds of race, sex, or religion. These subjects of discrimination have been selected because the international community has placed the notion of equality on a special priority level. The chapter reflects the perspective of a U.S. practitioner of civil rights. It makes clear that while the international rules concerning racial discrimination are clear enough, those that deal with sex discrimination and, to an even greater extent, with religious discrimination, are still in an inchoate form. The international status of such rules is not drastically different from the situation that existed in the United States some thirty years ago. The chapter highlights the fact that virtually all the international instruments on human rights deal with the subject of affirmative action, which has been crucial to the advancement of human rights in the United States. It focuses on the significance of the ‘purpose or effect’ clause in article 1 (1) of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, i.e., the action proscribed is that which has the purpose or the effect of bringing about racial discrimination. It also discusses the intriguing question of how certain important U.S. cases could have been resolved under the relevant international instruments rather than under the U.S. Constitution or statutes. Teaching suggestions, syllabus, and bibliographies are provided at the end of the chapter.

Keywords:   human rights, discrimination, equality, affirmative action

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