• Elisabeth Veronika Henn
Part of the Beiträge zum ausländischen öffentlichen Recht und Völkerrecht book series (BEITRÄGE, volume 280)


Being more sensitive to pre-existing structures and inequalities when addressing and redressing human rights violations, international actors have started drawing attention to structural discrimination. As a social phenomenon, structural discrimination against specific social groups is characterized by its omnipresence in all spheres of life, ‘resulting in a situation where the prohibition of discrimination in any one of these spheres or, indeed in all of them, will not suffice to ensure effective equality.’ It occurs, ‘when the rules of a society’s major institutions consistently produce disproportionately disadvantageous outcomes for the members of certain salient social groups and the production of such outcomes is unjust’. It is mostly rooted in historically unequal power relations between members of different social groups and unintentionally perpetuated by symbols, customs, sublimed assumptions of subordination and dominance, stereotypes and socio-political, as well as economic structures. Thus, particularly women, people of color or African descent, Roma and people with disabilities, are likely to encounter structural discrimination.

Copyright information

© Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e.V., to be exercised by Max-Planck-Institut für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht, Heidelberg 2018 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elisabeth Veronika Henn
    • 1
  1. 1.University of PotsdamPotsdamGermany

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