Fifty Years On: The Curious Case of Intersectional Discrimination in the ICCPR

Shreya Atrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

219 Downloads (Pure)


2016 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and thus of the oldest self-standing general right to non-discrimination in international law under article 26. The Human Rights Committee has enforced the right with rigour creating a vast and formidable body of discrimination jurisprudence over the decades. This jurisprudence, though, is doggedly single-dimensional and appears to have given short shrift to discrimination based on multiple and intersecting grounds of article 26, viz race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. This article examines the curious case of missing intersectional discrimination in the ICCPR. It does so by pulling together the dispersed and often unidentified claims based on more than one ground of discrimination. It delineates the pathologies of reasoning in these claims which have overlooked the idea of ‘intersectionality’ understood as disadvantage based on multiple and intersecting grounds, which is both similar to and different from disadvantage based on individual grounds. The article shows that this conceptual reckoning matters in identifying and addressing discrimination, and thus enforcing the commitment in article 26 of addressing not just single-ground discrimination but ‘any discrimination’ against ‘all persons’ on ‘any ground … or other status.’
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-239
Number of pages20
JournalNordic Journal of Human Rights
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sep 2017


  • Intersectional Discrimination,
  • Grounds
  • Article 26
  • Optional Protocol

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Fifty Years On: The Curious Case of Intersectional Discrimination in the ICCPR'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this