Equality, Non-Discrimination & the Guarantee of Healthcare

August 18, 2020

The right to equality and non-discrimination involves not only formal equality in law but obligations on the State to provide substantive non-discrimination for those persons and groups who suffer differential impacts. In the context of healthcare, this means recognizing stigma, discrimination, and exclusion as a result of disability, health status, gender and gender identity, and other social, economic, and cultural categories. Positive obligations, in that case, should extend beyond the prohibition of discrimination, to inclusive policies, reasonable accommodation, and affirmative action’s accounting for special needs and acknowledging existing barriers in the access to healthcare. As the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted, healthcare as an occupation is also in need of protection with multiple reports of attacks on healthcare workers stigmatized as carriers of the virus.