International Convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination


The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) is a legally binding treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1965. It is one of the principal international instruments that aim to combat racial discrimination and promote racial equality.

The ICERD defines racial discrimination as any distinction, exclusion, restriction, or preference based on race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin that has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment, or exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, or any other field of public life.

The main objectives of the convention are:

  1. To condemn racial discrimination and promote understanding, tolerance, and friendship among all races and ethnic groups.
  2. To guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, color, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law in the enjoyment of civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights.
  3. To prevent and combat racial discrimination in all its forms and promote policies and actions to eliminate racial prejudice and discrimination.

States parties to the convention are required to undertake various measures to eliminate racial discrimination, including legislative, judicial, administrative, and educational measures. They are expected to prohibit and eradicate racial discrimination, promote equality, and protect individuals against racial discrimination through effective remedies and enforcement mechanisms.

The convention establishes the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which is composed of independent experts elected by state parties. The committee monitors the implementation of the convention by states parties and provides guidance and recommendations to help them fulfill their obligations.

As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, the ICERD has been ratified by 182 countries. However, it is always advisable to check the latest information as the status of ratifications may change over time.

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