A vulnerable person is at a higher risk of exploitation, with the reduced capacity to withstand negative environmental impact. This vulnerability could be the result of socio-economic conditions, gender, age, disability or ethnicity. From an international law standpoint, categories of vulnerable people include children, women, disabled persons and minorities, among others. There exists well-established international law on these groups, codifying legally binding frameworks to counteract historical and societal disadvantages.
The rights of women are preserved in the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and this instrument and its subsequent protocol aim to facilitate the equalization of women of all ages to the status of men across all spectrums. The rights of children are preserved under the United Nations Convention for the Rights of Child (CRC) and its subsequent protocols, instruments, which emphasize the protection of children from abuse, neglect and exploitation along with allotting them particular rights. Persons with disabilities are protected under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which promotes, protects and ensures the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, along with promoting respect for their inherent dignity. Rights of minorities are embodied within the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination, which stress on the prohibition of racial, ethnic, linguistic or religious discrimination against minorities within a state. These instruments represent a threshold for the protection and preservation of vulnerable communities across the world, an important area of international law.