Simply put, discrimination is unequal treatment of persons or groups on the basis of their personal traits, which results in their inequality in realizing their rights guaranteed by law and the Constitution. It consists of unequal treatment, exclusion or demeaning of persons or groups of persons who are in equal, similar or comparable position.
Discrimination also occurs when persons who are in unequal position are being treated in the same (equal) way. For instance, persons with disabilities are in unequal position in comparison to persons without disabilities. Equal treatment of persons with disabilities in employment, healthcare provision, etc. would result in marginalization of persons with disabilities in these areas. In order to prevent this, the state and the society implement the so-called “affirmative action measures” which serve to create equal opportunities, so that persons with disabilities could also work, study and develop their talents and skills. In this way, they become socially included and equal, and the society has the opportunity to use its full potential for social development.
In other words, discrimination is unequal treatment of equals and equal treatment of unequals.
Discrimination may be based on various personal traits, whether they are real or assumed. Personal traits are, for instance, race, skin color, citizenship, nationality or ethnic origin, language, religious or political beliefs, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, sexual characteristics, income level, financial condition, birth, genetic features, health condition disability, marital status or family, conviction record, age, appearance, membership in political parties, trade union and other organizations, etc.
Discrimination can occur in various areas of social life.
Anyone may become a discriminator – a desk clerk in city administration, a public administration authority, a judge, a medical doctor, a teacher, a police officer. It can occur anywhere – at work, in school, at the university, in hospital, at the sports ground, in public administration procedures, at the court, in public transport, in the street…
Anyone may become a victim of discrimination: individuals, groups of persons, and legal entities as well. A person who is discriminated in one social situation may become a discriminator, i.e. the person who commits the act of discrimination, in different circumstances.
Discrimination can be indirect or direct, deliberate or committed out of ignorance. Forms of discrimination are direct and indirect discrimination, as well as violation of the principle of equal rights and obligations, calling for responsibility, association for the purpose of discrimination, hate speech, harassment, degrading treatment and sexual and gender harassment, segregation and incitement to discrimination. Sometimes, a person may commit an act of discrimination against another person or a group, without even being aware of it.
Therefore, it is very important to be informed about discrimination – what it is, how it is manifested, and how it influences the victim. The consequences of discrimination are always harsh. Sometimes they are obvious, and sometimes they are not visible, which makes them all the more dangerous. Discrimination against persons and groups can seriously damage the social relations in the long run.
On this webpage, you can find examples of all discrimination grounds listed in the Law, in various areas of social life. You should not forget that one person may be a victim of discrimination on several grounds in one area of social life (so-called “multiple discrimination”) or on one ground in several areas of social life.
We are fighting for a Serbia without discrimination! Join us, because together we can build a society of true equality.