International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

 

International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

 

Adopted and opened for signature and ratification by General Assembly resolution 2106 (XX) of 21 December 1965 entry into force 4 January 1969, in accordance with Article 19

 

 

The States Parties to this Convention,

 

Considering that the Charter of the United Nations is based on the principles of the dignity and equality inherent in

all human beings, and that all Member States have pledged themselves to take joint and separate action, in

co-operation with the Organization, for the achievement of one of the purposes of the United Nations which is to

promote and encourage universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all,

without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion,

 

Considering that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims that all human beings are born free and

equal in dignity and rights and that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set out therein, without

distinction of any kind, in particular as to race, colour or national origin,

 

Considering that all human beings are equal before the law and are entitled to equal protection of the law against

any discrimination and against any incitement to discrimination,

 

Considering that the United Nations has condemned colonialism and all practices of segregation and discrimination

associated therewith, in whatever form and wherever they exist, and that the Declaration on the Granting of

Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples of 14 December 1960 (General Assembly resolution 1514

(XV)) has affirmed and solemnly proclaimed the necessity of bringing them to a speedy and unconditional end,

 

Considering that the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination of 20

November 1963 (General Assembly resolution 1904 (XVIII)) solemnly affirms the necessity of speedily

eliminating racial discrimination throughout the world in all its forms and manifestations and of securing

understanding of and respect for the dignity of the human person,

 

Convinced that any doctrine of superiority based on racial differentiation is scientifically false, morally

condemnable, socially unjust and dangerous, and that there is no justification for racial discrimination, in theory or

in practice, anywhere,

 

Reaffirming that discrimination between human beings on the grounds of race, colour or ethnic origin is an obstacle

to friendly and peaceful relations among nations and is capable of disturbing peace and security among peoples

and the harmony of persons living side by side even within one and the same State,

 

Convinced that the existence of racial barriers is repugnant to the ideals of any human society,

 

Alarmed by manifestations of racial discrimination still in evidence in some areas of the world and by governmental

policies based on racial superiority or hatred, such as policies of apartheid, segregation or separation,

 

Resolved to adopt all necessary measures for speedily eliminating racial discrimination in all its forms and

manifestations, and to prevent and combat racist doctrines and practices in order to promote understanding

between races and to build an international community free from all forms of racial segregation and racial

discrimination,

 

Bearing in mind the Convention concerning Discrimination in respect of Employment and Occupation adopted by

the International Labour Organisation in 1958, and the Convention against Discrimination in Education adopted by

the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 1960,

 

Desiring to implement the principles embodied in the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Al l Forms

of Racial Discrimination and to secure the earliest adoption of practical measures to that end,

 

Have agreed as follows:

 

PART I

 

Article I General comment on its implementation

 

1. In this Convention, the term "racial discrimination" shall mean 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. General comment on its

implementation

 

2. This Convention shall not apply to distinctions, exclusions, restrictions or preferences made by a State Party to

this Convention between citizens and non-citizens.

 

3. Nothing in this Convention may be interpreted as affecting in any way the legal provisions of States Parties

concerning nationality, citizenship or naturalization, provided that such provisions do not discriminate against any

particular nationality.

 

4. Special measures taken for the sole purpose of securing adequate advancement of certain racial or ethnic

groups or individuals requiring such protection as may be necessary in order to ensure such groups or individuals

equal enjoyment or exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms shall not be deemed racial discrimination,

provided, however, that such measures do not, as a consequence, lead to the maintenance of separate rights for

different racial groups and that they shall not be continued after the objectives for which they were taken have

been achieved.

General comment on its implementation

 

Article 2

 

1. States Parties condemn racial discrimination and undertake to pursue by all appropriate means and without

delay a policy of eliminating racial discrimination in all its forms and promoting understanding among all races, and,

to this end:

 

(a) Each State Party undertakes to engage in no act or practice of racial discrimination against

persons, groups of persons or institutions and to en sure that all public authorities and public

institutions, national and local, shall act in conformity with this obligation;

 

(b) Each State Party undertakes not to sponsor, defend or support racial discrimination by any

persons or organizations;

 

(c) Each State Party shall take effective measures to review governmental, national and local

policies, and to amend, rescind or nullify any laws and regulations which have the effect of creating

or perpetuating racial discrimination wherever it exists;

 

(d) Each State Party shall prohibit and bring to an end, by all appropriate means, including legislation

as required by circumstances, racial discrimination by any persons, group or organization;

 

(e) Each State Party undertakes to encourage, where appropriate, integrationist multiracial

organizations and movements and other means of eliminating barriers between races, and to

discourage anything which tends to strengthen racial division.

 

2. States Parties shall, when the circumstances so warrant, take, in the social, economic, cultural and other fields,

special and concrete measures to ensure the adequate development and protection of certain racial groups or

individuals belonging to them, for the purpose of guaranteeing them the full and equal enjoyment of human rights

and fundamental freedoms. These measures shall in no case en tail as a con sequence the maintenance of unequal

or separate rights for different racial groups after the objectives for which they were taken have been achieved.

 

Article 3General comment on its implementation

 

States Parties particularly condemn racial segregation and apartheid and undertake to prevent, prohibit and

eradicate all practices of this nature in territories under their jurisdiction.

 

Article 4General comment on its implementation

 

States Parties condemn all propaganda and all organizations which are based on ideas or theories of superiority of

one race or group of persons of one colour or ethnic origin, or which attempt to justify or promote racial hatred

and discrimination in any form, and undertake to adopt immediate and positive measures designed to eradicate all

incitement to, or acts of, such discrimination and, to this end, with due regard to the principles embodied in the

Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the rights expressly set forth in article 5 of this Convention, inter alia:

 

(a) Shall declare an offence punishable by law all dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority

or hatred, incitement to racial discrimination, as well as all acts of violence or incitement to such acts

against any race or group of persons of another colour or ethnic origin, and also the provision of any

assistance to racist activities, including the financing thereof;

 

(b) Shall declare illegal and prohibit organizations, and also organized and all other propaganda

activities, which promote and incite racial discrimination, and shall recognize participation in such

organizations or activities as an offence punishable by law;

 

(c) Shall not permit public authorities or public institutions, national or local, to promote or incite

racial discrimination.

 

Article 5General comment on its implementation

 

In compliance with the fundamental obligations laid down in article 2 of this Convention, States Parties undertake

to prohibit and to eliminate racial discrimination in all its forms and to guarantee the right of everyone, without

distinction as to race, colour, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law, notably in the enjoyment of

the following rights:

 

(a) The right to equal treatment before the tribunals and all other organs administering justice;

 

(b) The right to security of person and protection by the State against violence or bodily harm,

whether inflicted by government officials or by any individual group or institution;

 

(c) Political rights, in particular the right to participate in elections-to vote and to stand for

election-on the basis of universal and equal suffrage, to take part in the Government as well as in the

conduct of public affairs at any level and to have equal access to public service;

 

(d) Other civil rights, in particular:

 

(i) The right to freedom of movement and residence within the border of the State;

 

(ii) The right to leave any country, including one's own, and to return to one's country;

 

(iii) The right to nationality;

 

(iv) The right to marriage and choice of spouse;

 

(v) The right to own property alone as well as in association with others;

 

(vi) The right to inherit;

 

(vii) The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion;

 

(viii) The right to freedom of opinion and expression;

 

(ix) The right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association;

 

(e) Economic, social and cultural rights, in particular:

 

(i) The rights to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions

of work, to protection against unemployment, to equal pay for equal work, to just and

favourable remuneration;

 

(ii) The right to form and join trade unions;

 

(iii) The right to housing;

 

(iv) The right to public health, medical care, social security and social services;

 

(v) The right to education and training;

 

(vi) The right to equal participation in cultural activities;

 

(f) The right of access to any place or service intended for use by the general public, such as

transport hotels, restaurants, cafes, theatres and parks.

 

Article 6

 

States Parties shall assure to everyone within their jurisdiction effective protection and remedies, through the

competent national tribunals and other State institutions, against any acts of racial discrimination which violate his

human rights and fundamental freedoms contrary to this Convention, as well as the right to seek from such

tribunals just and adequate reparation or satisfaction for any damage suffered as a result of such discrimination.

 

Article 7General comment on its implementation

 

States Parties undertake to adopt immediate and effective measures, particularly in the fields of teaching,

education, culture and information, with a view to combating prejudices which lead to racial discrimination and to

promoting understanding, tolerance and friendship among nations and racial or ethnical groups, as well as to

propagating the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human

Rights, the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and this

Convention.

 

PART II

Article 8

 

1. There shall be established a Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (hereinafter referred to as

the Committee) consisting of eighteen experts of high moral standing and acknowledged impartiality elected by

States Parties from among their nationals, who shall serve in their personal capacity, consideration being given to

equitable geographical distribution and to the representation of the different forms of civilization as well as of the

principal legal systems. General comment on its implementation

 

2. The members of the Committee shall be elected by secret ballot from a list of persons nominated by the States

Parties. Each State Party may nominate one person from among its own nationals.

 

3. The initial election shall be held six months after the date of the entry into force of this Convention. At least

three months before the date of each election the Secretary-General of the United Nations shall address a letter to

the States Parties inviting them to submit their nominations within two months. The Secretary-General shall

prepare a list in alphabetical order of all persons thus nominated, indicating the States Parties which have

nominated them, and shall submit it to the States Parties.

 

4. Elections of the members of the Committee shall be held at a meeting of States Parties convened by the

Secretary-General at United Nations Headquarters. At that meeting, for which two thirds of the States Parties

shall constitute a quorum, the persons elected to the Committee shall be nominees who obtain the largest number

of votes and an absolute majority of the votes of the representatives of States Parties present and voting.

 

5.

 

(a) The members of the Committee shall be elected for a term of four years. However, the terms of

nine of the members elected at the first election shall expire at the end of two years; immediately after

the first election the names of these nine members shall be chosen by lot by the Chairman of the

Committee;

 

(b) For the filling of casual vacancies, the State Party whose expert has ceased to function as a

member of the Committee shall appoint another expert from among its nationals, subject to the

approval of the Committee.

 

6. States Parties shall be responsible for the expenses of the members of the Committee while they are in

performance of Committee duties. (amendment (see General Assembly resolution 47/111 of 16 December 1992);

status of ratification)

 

Article 9General comment on its implementation

 

1. States Parties undertake to submit to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, for consideration by the

Committee, a report on the legislative, judicial, administrative or other measures which they have adopted and

which give effect to the provisions of this Convention:

 

(a) within one year after the entry into force of the Convention for the State concerned; and

 

(b) thereafter every two years and whenever the Committee so requests. The Committee may

request further information from the States Parties.

 

2. The Committee shall report annually, through the Secretary General, to the General Assembly of the United

Nations on its activities and may make suggestions and general recommendations based on the examination of the

reports and information received from the States Parties. Such suggestions and general recommendations shall be

reported to the General Assembly together with comments, if any, from States Parties.

 

Article 10

 

1. The Committee shall adopt its own rules of procedure.

 

2. The Committee shall elect its officers for a term of two years.

 

3. The secretariat of the Committee shall be provided by the Secretary General of the United Nations.

 

4. The meetings of the Committee shall normally be held at United Nations Headquarters.

 

Article 11

 

1. If a State Party considers that another State Party is not giving effect to the provisions of this Convention, it

may bring the matter to the attention of the Committee. The Committee shall then transmit the communication to

the State Party concerned. Within three months, the receiving State shall submit to the Committee written

explanations or statements clarifying the matter and the remedy, if any, that may have been taken by that State.

 

2. If the matter is not adjusted to the satisfaction of both parties, either by bilateral negotiations or by any other

procedure open to them, within six months after the receipt by the receiving State of the initial communication,

either State shall have the right to refer the matter again to the Committee by notifying the Committee and also the

other State.

 

3. The Committee shall deal with a matter referred to it in accordance with paragraph 2 of this article after it has

ascertained that all available domestic remedies have been invoked and exhausted in the case, in conformity with

the generally recognized principles of international law. This shall not be the rule where the application of the

remedies is unreasonably prolonged.

 

4. In any matter referred to it, the Committee may call upon the States Parties concerned to supply any other

relevant information.

 

5. When any matter arising out of this article is being considered by the Committee, the States Parties concerned

shall be entitled to send a representative to take part in the proceedings of the Committee, without voting rights,

while the matter is under consideration.

 

Article 12

 

1.

 

(a) After the Committee has obtained and collated all the information it deems necessary, the

Chairman shall appoint an ad hoc Conciliation Commission (hereinafter referred to as the

Commission) comprising five persons who may or may not be members of the Committee. The

members of the Commission shall be appointed with the unanimous consent of the parties to the

dispute, and its good offices shall be made available to the States concerned with a view to an

amicable solution of the matter on the basis of respect for this Convention;

 

(b) If the States parties to the dispute fail to reach agreement within three months on all or part of the

composition of the Commission, the members of the Commission not agreed upon by the States

parties to the dispute shall be elected by secret ballot by a two-thirds majority vote of the Committee

from among its own members.

 

2. The members of the Commission shall serve in their personal capacity. They shall not be nationals of the States

parties to the dispute or of a State not Party to this Convention.

 

3. The Commission shall elect its own Chairman and adopt its own rules of procedure.

 

4. The meetings of the Commission shall normally be held at United Nations Headquarters or at any other

convenient place as determined by the Commission.

 

5. The secretariat provided in accordance with article 10, paragraph 3, of this Convention shall also service the

Commission whenever a dispute among States Parties brings the Commission into being.

 

6. The States parties to the dispute shall share equally all the expenses of the members of the Commission in

accordance with estimates to be provided by the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

 

7. The Secretary-General shall be empowered to pay the expenses of the members of the Commission, if

necessary, before reimbursement by the States parties to the dispute in accordance with paragraph 6 of this

article.

 

8. The information obtained and collated by the Committee shall be made available to the Commission, and the

Commission may call upon the States concerned to supply any other relevant information.

 

Article 13

 

1. When the Commission has fully considered the matter, it shall prepare and submit to the Chairman of the

Committee a report embodying its findings on all questions of fact relevant to the issue between the parties and

containing such recommendations as it may think proper for the amicable solution of the dispute.

 

2. The Chairman of the Committee shall communicate the report of the Commission to each of the States parties

to the dispute. These States shall, within three months, inform the Chairman of the Committee whether or not they

accept the recommendations contained in the report of the Commission.

 

3. After the period provided for in paragraph 2 of this article, the Chairman of the Committee shall communicate

the report of the Commission and the declarations of the States Parties concerned to the other States Parties to

this Convention.

 

Article 14

 

1. A State Party may at any time declare that it recognizes the competence of the Committee to receive and

consider communications from individuals or groups of individuals within its jurisdiction claiming to be victims of a

violation by that State Party of any of the rights set forth in this Convention. No communication shall be received

by the Committee if it concerns a State Party which has not made such a declaration.

 

2. Any State Party which makes a declaration as provided for in paragraph I of this article may establish or

indicate a body within its national legal order which shall be competent to receive and consider petitions from

individuals and groups of individuals within its jurisdiction who claim to be victims of a violation of any of the rights

set forth in this Convention and who have exhausted other available local remedies.

 

3. A declaration made in accordance with paragraph 1 of this article and the name of any body established or

indicated in accordance with paragraph 2 of this article shall be deposited by the State Party concerned with the

Secretary-General of the United Nations, who shall transmit copies thereof to the other States Parties. A

declaration may be withdrawn at any time by notification to the Secretary-General, but such a withdrawal shall not

affect communications pending before the Committee.

 

4. A register of petitions shall be kept by the body established or indicated in accordance with paragraph 2 of this

article, and certified copies of the register shall be filed annually through appropriate channels with the

Secretary-General on the understanding that the contents shall not be publicly disclosed.

 

5. In the event of failure to obtain satisfaction from the body established or indicated in accordance with

paragraph 2 of this article, the petitioner shall have the right to communicate the matter to the Committee within six

months.

 

6.

 

(a) The Committee shall confidentially bring any communication referred to it to the attention of the

State Party alleged to be violating any provision of this Convention, but the identity of the individual

or groups of individuals concerned shall not be revealed without his or their express consent. The

Committee shall not receive anonymous communications;

 

(b) Within three months, the receiving State shall submit to the Committee written explanations or

statements clarifying the matter and the remedy, if any, that may have been taken by that State.

 

7.

 

(a) The Committee shall consider communications in the light of all information made available to it

by the State Party concerned and by the petitioner. The Committee shall not consider any

communication from a petitioner unless it has ascertained that the petitioner has exhausted all

available domestic remedies. However, this shall not be the rule where the application of the

remedies is unreasonably prolonged;

 

(b) The Committee shall forward its suggestions and recommendations, if any, to the State Party

concerned and to the petitioner.

 

8. The Committee shall include in its annual report a summary of such communications and, where appropriate, a

summary of the explanations and statements of the States Parties concerned and of its own suggestions and

recommendations.

 

9. The Committee shall be competent to exercise the functions provided for in this article only when at least ten

States Parties to this Convention are bound by declarations in accordance with paragraph I of this article.

 

Article 15

 

1 . Pending the achievement of the objectives of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial

Countries and Peoples, contained in General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960, the

provisions of this Convention shall in no way limit the right of petition granted to these peoples by other

international instruments or by the United Nations and its specialized agencies.

 

2.

 

(a) The Committee established under article 8, paragraph 1, of this Convention shall receive copies

of the petitions from, and submit expressions of opinion and recommendations on these petitions to,

the bodies of the United Nations which deal with matters directly related to the principles and

objectives of this Convention in their consideration of petitions from the inhabitants of Trust and

Non-Self-Governing Territories and all other territories to which General Assembly resolution 1514

(XV) applies, relating to matters covered by this Convention which are before these bodies;

 

(b) The Committee shall receive from the competent bodies of the United Nations copies of the

reports concerning the legislative, judicial, administrative or other measures directly related to the

principles and objectives of this Convention applied by the administering Powers within the

Territories mentioned in subparagraph (a) of this paragraph, and shall express opinions and make

recommendations to these bodies.

 

3. The Committee shall include in its report to the General Assembly a summary of the petitions and reports it has

received from United Nations bodies, and the expressions of opinion and recommendations of the Committee

relating to the said petitions and reports.

 

4. The Committee shall request from the Secretary-General of the United Nations all information relevant to the

objectives of this Convention and available to him regarding the Territories mentioned in paragraph 2 (a) of this

article.

 

Article 16

 

The provisions of this Convention concerning the settlement of disputes or complaints shall be applied without

prejudice to other procedures for settling disputes or complaints in the field of discrimination laid down in the

constituent instruments of, or conventions adopted by, the United Nations and its specialized agencies, and shall

not prevent the States Parties from having recourse to other procedures for settling a dispute in accordance with

general or special international agreements in force between them.

 

PART III

 

Article 17

 

1. This Convention is open for signature by any State Member of the United Nations or member of any of its

specialized agencies, by any State Party to the Statute of the International Court of Justice, and by any other State

which has been invited by the General Assembly of the United Nations to become a Party to this Convention.

 

2. This Convention is subject to ratification. Instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the

Secretary-General of the United Nations.

 

Article 18

 

1. This Convention shall be open to accession by any State referred to in article 17, paragraph 1, of the

Convention. 2. Accession shall be effected by the deposit of an instrument of accession with the

Secretary-General of the United Nations.

 

Article 19

 

1. This Convention shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date of the deposit with the

Secretary-General of the United Nations of the twenty-seventh instrument of ratification or instrument of

accession.

 

2. For each State ratifying this Convention or acceding to it after the deposit of the twenty-seventh instrument of

ratification or instrument of accession, the Convention shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date of the

deposit of its own instrument of ratification or instrument of accession.

 

Article 20

 

1. The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall receive and circulate to all States which are or may become

Parties to this Convention reservations made by States at the time of ratification or accession. Any State which

objects to the reservation shall, within a period of ninety days from the date of the said communication, notify the

Secretary-General that it does not accept it.

 

2. A reservation incompatible with the object and purpose of this Convention shall not be permitted, nor shall a

reservation the effect of which would inhibit the operation of any of the bodies established by this Convention be

allowed. A reservation shall be considered incompatible or inhibitive if at least two thirds of the States Parties to

this Convention object to it.

 

3. Reservations may be withdrawn at any time by notification to this effect addressed to the Secretary-General.

Such notification shall take effect on the date on which it is received.

 

Article 21

 

A State Party may denounce this Convention by written notification to the Secretary-General of the United

Nations. Denunciation shall take effect one year after the date of receipt of the notification by the Secretary

General.

 

Article 22

 

Any dispute between two or more States Parties with respect to the interpretation or application of this

Convention, which is not settled by negotiation or by the procedures expressly provided for in this Convention,

shall, at the request of any of the parties to the dispute, be referred to the International Court of Justice for

decision, unless the disputants agree to another mode of settlement.

 

Article 23

 

1. A request for the revision of this Convention may be made at any time by any State Party by means of a

notification in writing addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

 

2. The General Assembly of the United Nations shall decide upon the steps, if any, to be taken in respect of such

a request.

 

Article 24

 

The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall inform all States referred to in article 17, paragraph 1, of this

Convention of the following particulars:

 

(a) Signatures, ratifications and accessions under articles 17 and 18;

 

(b) The date of entry into force of this Convention under article 19;

 

(c) Communications and declarations received under articles 14, 20 and 23;

 

(d) Denunciations under article 21.

 

Article 25

 

1. This Convention, of which the Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish texts are equally authentic, shall

be deposited in the archives of the United Nations.

 

2. The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall transmit certified copies of this Convention to all States

belonging to any of the categories mentioned in article 17, paragraph 1, of the Convention.

 

Copyright 1997

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Geneva, Switzerland