The United Kingdom has a comprehensive range of statutory discrimination laws, the majority of which are founded in European Union law, as recently consolidated into the Equality Act 2010. There is clear scope for the influence of human rights arguments on the development of these laws through statutory interpretation under section 3 of the HRA, particularly as these statutory provisions are continually being interpreted and developed by courts and tribunals in any event.
The HRA itself also contains a number of provisions that are directly relevant to discrimination law issues. The most obvious of these is Article 14, which provides a general non-discrimination provision as follows: ‘The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.’ Other rights have also been used to challenge particular types of discriminatory treatment – most notably, Articles 8 (the right to respect for private life) and 10 (freedom of expression) in relation to sexual orientation discrimination, and Article 9 (the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion) in relation to discrimination on grounds of religion or belief.
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