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2 Equality

From: The American Convention on Human Rights: Essential Rights

Thomas M. Antkowiak, Alejandra Gonza

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved.date: 15 June 2021

Equality before the law — Ethnicity — Gender — Minorities — Race — Sexual orientation

The Convention’s Article 24 establishes two critical, autonomous rights: the right to equality before the law and the right to equal protection of the law. The Inter-American Court has declared equality to constitute a jus cogens principle, which would render it binding for all States, and expanded State obligations in this area. The Court broadly condemns many forms of discrimination, and promotes affirmative action programs. However, its standards of review and even standards of proof for differential treatment remain uncertain. Further, the Court’s interpretation of Article 24 and Article 1, both as separate concepts and in relation to each other, has been inconsistent and, more recently, problematic. The Tribunal now considers Article 24’s scope to be more limited than that of the non-discrimination provision of Article 1(1). Among other objections, this approach conflicts with the Court’s prior jurisprudence, which in turn reflected international understandings of equality principles.

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