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Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

 
Introduction | Article Summaries | Full Text

Excerpts from The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Fact Sheet #12, UN Centre for Human Rights:

The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) is a legal instrument building upon the 1963 Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

The Declaration makes four principal points:

  • Any doctrine of racial differentiation or superiority is scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust and dangerous and has no justification in theory or practice;
  • Racial discrimination -- and more so, government policies based on racial superiority or hatred -- violate fundamental human rights, endanger friendly relations among peoples, co-operation among nations, and international peace and security;
  • Racial discrimination harms not only those who are its objects but also those who practise it;
  • A world society free of racial segregation and discrimination, factors which create hatred and division, is a fundamental aim of the United Nations.
Under the Convention, States parties are pledged:
  • To engage in no act or practice of racial discrimination against individuals, groups of persons or institutions, and to ensure that public authorities and institutions do likewise;
  • Not to sponsor, defend or support racial discrimination by persons or organizations;
  • To review government, national and local policies and to amend or repeal laws and regulations which create or perpetuate racial discrimination;
  • To prohibit and put a stop to racial discrimination by persons, groups and organizations; and
  • To encourage integrationist or multiracial organizations and movements and other means of eliminating barriers between races, as well as to discourage anything which tends to strengthen racial division."

Introduction | Article Summaries | Full Text

CERD
Unofficial Summary


Article 1

Definition of racial discrimination: any distinction, exclusion, restriction, or preference based on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin with the purpose or effect of impairing the enjoyment on equal footing of human rights. Affirmative action policies or measures are not to be deemed racial discrimination.

Article 2

States Parties condemn racial discrimination and undertake to pursue a policy of eliminating it in all its forms. States Parties shall engage in no act of racial discrimination and shall act to ensure that no public authorities and institutions engage in discrimination. States Parties pledge not to sponsor, defend or support racial discrimination by any persons or organizations. States Parties shall review government, national and local policies and amend or repeal laws and regulations which create or perpetuate racial discrimination. States Parties shall prohibit and bring to an end racial discrimination by any persons, group or organization. States Parties shall take affirmative action measures as needed to ensure the development and protection of individuals belonging to certain racial groups for the purpose of guaranteeing them the full and equal enjoyment of human rights.

Article 3

States Parties condemn apartheid and undertake to prevent, prohibit and eradicate all such practices in their territories.

Article 4

States Parties condemn all propaganda and all organizations based on ideas of racial superiority. States Parties undertake to act to eradicate all incitement to discrimination and shall prohibit dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority and acts of violence or incitement to violence against any race.

Article 5

States Parties undertake to prohibit and to eliminate racial discrimination and to guarantee to everyone without distinction equality before the law, especially in the enjoyment of the rights to justice; security of person; political rights, including the right to vote and to stand for election, to take part in government and public affairs, and to have equal access to public service; the right to freedom of movement and residence; the right to leave any country, including onešs own, and to return to onešs country; the right to nationality; the right to marriage and choice of spouse; the right to own property; the right to inherit; the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; the right to freedom of opinion and expression; the right to peaceful assembly and association; economic, social and cultural rights, in particular: the rights to work, to free choice of employment, to equal pay for equal work, to just and favourable remuneration; the right to form and join trade unions; the right to housing; the right to public health, medical care, social security and social services; the right to education and training; the right to equal participation in cultural activities; the right of access to any place or service intended for use by the general public.

Article 6

States Parties shall assure to everyone within their jurisdiction effective protection and remedies against acts of racial discrimination.

Article 7

States Parties undertake to adopt measures in education, teaching, etc. to combat prejudices which lead to racial discrimination.


For more information, please contact PDHRE:

The People's Movement for Human Rights Education (PDHRE) / NY Office
Shulamith Koenig / Executive Director
526 West 111th Street, New York, NY 10025, USA
tel: +1 212.749-3156; fax: +1 212.666-6325
e-mail: pdhre@igc.org