The general principle of non-discrimination is a fundamental element of international human rights law as written in Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The right to equality and non-discrimination is recognised in Article 2 UDHR and is a cross-cutting issue of concern in other UN human rights instruments. Human rights instruments prohibit discrimination on several grounds. Article 2 UDHR prohibits discrimination on the following 10 grounds: race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinions, national or social origin, property, birth and other status. The term ‘other status’ has an open-ended meaning; some grounds not explicitly mentioned, such as age, gender, disability, nationality and sexual orientation could also be considered prohibited grounds.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.