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International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
NEW YORK 7 March 1966
Articles  
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
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
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
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 in 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
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
Desiring to implement the principles embodied in the United Nations
Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and to
secure the earliest adoption of practical measures to that end,
Have agreed as follows:
- 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.
- This Convention shall not apply to distinctions, exclusions,
restrictions or preferences made by a State Party to this Convention
between citizens and non-citizens.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 ensure 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
- (e) Each State Party undertakes to encourage, where appropriate,
integrationist multi-racial organizations and movements and other
means of eliminating barriers between races, and to discourage
anything which tends to strengthen racial division.
- 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 entail as a consequence the maintenance of
unequal or separate rights for different racial groups after the objectives
for which they were taken have been achieved.
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.
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.
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
- (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 rights 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
- (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
- (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
- (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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
those nominees who obtain the largest number of votes and an absolute
majority of the votes of the representatives of States Parties present and
- (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
- States Parties shall be responsible for the expenses of the members of
the Committee while they are in performance of Committee duties.
- 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
- 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.
- The Committee shall adopt its own rules of procedure.
- The Committee shall elect its officers for a term of two years.
- The secretariat of the Committee shall be provided by the
Secretary-General of the United Nations.
- The meetings of the Committee shall normally be held at United Nations
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- In any matter referred to it, the Committee may call upon the States
Parties concerned to supply any other relevant information.
- 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.
- (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.
- 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.
- The Commission shall elect its own Chairman and adopt its own rules of
- The meetings of the Commission shall normally be held at United Nations
Headquarters or at any other convenient place as determined by the
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Any State Party which makes a declaration as provided for in paragraph 1
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- (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.
- (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.
- 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
- 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 1 of this article.
- 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.
- (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
- (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 sub-paragraph (a) of this
paragraph, and shall express opinions and make recommendations to
- 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.
- 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
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 in 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
- 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.
- This Convention is subject to ratification. Instruments of ratification
shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
- This Convention shall be open to accession by any State referred to in
article 17, paragraph 1, of the Convention.
- Accession shall be effected by the deposit of an instrument of accession
with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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
Any dispute between two or more States Parties with respect to the
interpretation or application of this Convention, which is not settled by
negociation 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.
- 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.
- The General Assembly of the United Nations shall decide upon the steps,
if any, to be taken in respect of such a request.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall inform all States
referred to in article 17, paragraph 1, of this Convention of the following
- (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.
- 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.
- 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.
IN FAITH WHEREOF the undersigned, being duly authorized thereto by their
respective Governments, have signed the present Convention, opened for
signature at New York, on the seventh day of March, one thousand nine
hundred and sixty-six.
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