We explain what equal rights is, its relationship with different political models and its importance in democracy.
Equal rights implies the application of the law without discrimination.
What is equal rights?
Equal rights is the equality before the law of all Humans, without discriminating against them based on conditions such as their sex, their sexual orientation, their origin, their religion or their race. In practice it is the same as the right to equality.
This means that what is established in the law written, included in codes or in the Constitution, or even those legal orders dictated by the habit, should be applied as general principles of Justice, and not be exercised at discretion depending on the person.
When this is fulfilled in a legal system, it is said that there is a Rule of law, that is, a society governed by rules and not by individual criteria. The principle of Equality before the Law means that the law is complied with regardless of who is tried. It is also called the principle of isonomy and is one of the basic elements of right modern.
Consequently, equal rights are incompatible with discriminatory political and social models, such as the slavery, the bondage, the colonialism, the monarchy, theocracy or the fascism. In those systems there are citizens first class and second class citizens, therefore the laws are applied differently depending on which category one belongs to.
Many organizations fight internationally for a society of equal rights. However, in current democratic models there are also ways of discrimination contrary to equal rights, that is, the right to be treated as an equal by everyone and to enjoy the exact same rights.
Examples abound, unfortunately: racial discrimination for decades in the United States, which distinguished between rights for whites and for blacks; the exploitation labor of African and Asian migrants almost everywhere in the West; or even the wage gap between men and women, which pays the former more for doing the exact same job.
Importance of equal rights
Equal rights is essential for any type of society democratic organized. Only the rule of law, that is, with a legal system that applies equally to rich, poor, black, white, women, men, homosexuals and heterosexuals, allows us to sustain the peace social for long periods of time.
Discrimination, segregation, racism wave xenophobia are very common flagella in the humanity. On the one hand, they leave a negative mark on those who practice it, since they impoverish their culture and they miss out on the opportunity to learn from the difference. But they also harm those who suffer from it, who in some cases later also exercise discrimination.
It has been known since ancient times that this cycle never stops, and that mixing, accepting the diversity, celebrating the wealth of views, is the only way to achieve a just and peaceful society.