International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

last updated 19 April 2011

 

The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) entered into force in 1969. It defines racial discrimination as “any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life” (Article 1(1)). The treaty calls upon States Parties to undertake to eliminate racial discrimination in every form and promote understanding among races. States Parties are to assure “effective protection and remedies” against all acts of racial discrimination to persons within their jurisdiction (Article 6). The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination also creates the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which may receive individual communications and resolve disputes between States Parties regarding treaty obligations through an ad hoc Conciliation Commission. States Parties to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination are obliged to submit reports to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination outlining the measures taken to implement the Convention.