Human Rights &
International Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
7 March 1966
Articles  
PART II: Articles 
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 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
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 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 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
- 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 organization;
(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
(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
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
(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:
(e) Economic, social and cultural rights, in particular:
(i) The right to freedom of movement and residence within the border of
(ii) The right to leave any country, including one's own, and to return to
(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;
(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
(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
(v) The right to education and training;
(vi) The right to equal participation in cultural activities;
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
- 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 Parties.
- 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 Committee.
- 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 Parties.
- 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 unreasonably
- 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 Commission.
- 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 months.
- (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
- (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
(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
sub-paragraph (a) of this
paragraph, and shall express opinions and make recommendations to these
- 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 this article.
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 between them.
- 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
- 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 Secretary-General.
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.
- 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 particulars
(a) Signatures, ratifications and accessions under articles
17 and 18;
(b) The date of entry into force of this Convention under
(c) Communications and declarations received under articles
14, 20 and
(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