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Discrimination Law Guide, Resources & information


To discriminate is to make a distinction between people on the basis of class or category without regard to individual merit. Examples include social, racial, religious, sexual, disability, ethnic and age-related discrimination. Some distinctions between people which are based just on individual merit (such as personal appearance) may be inappropriate (or even illegal) in some situations, but they are not discriminatory.

Examples of discrimination within countries include: apartheid in South Africa; institutionalized racial segregation in the USA from the Civil War through the 1960s; the "Jewish problem" in Nazi Germany; and re-education camps in some communist countries.

Many governments have attempted to control discrimination through civil rights legislation, equal opportunity laws and institutionalised policies of affirmative action (called reverse discrimination by its opponents).

Even in western, secular countries, governments practice discrimination. For example, governments may provide better treatment to citizens than to non-citizens. Unemployed citizens may receive welfare benefits funded by taxpayers, while unemployed non-citizens may be denied such benefits. Governments often have the power to forcefully expel non-citizens but cannot expel citizens. Discrimination based on citizenship status is not generally considered illegal.

Know your rights and exercise them for a safe, better future.

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