​About the mandate: The Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism

The Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance is an independent human rights expert appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council. The mandate of the Special Rapporteur is one of 56 special procedures of the Council and was created in 1993 by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, predecessor to the Council.

Article 1(1) of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) defines racial discrimination in broad terms as:

“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”.

Scope of the mandate

In line with this definition, the scope of the mandate covers all contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance on grounds of race, colour, descent or national and ethnic origin. Where multiple forms of discrimination intersect, the mandate also addresses other grounds of discrimination such as gender or religion. 

The Special Rapporteur is mandated to address racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance against Africans and persons of African descent, Arabs and Muslims, Asians and persons of Asian descent, migrants and non-nationals, persons belonging to indigenous peoples and minorities, as well as all other victims mentioned in the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.

  • The efficiency of the measures taken by Governments to remedy the situation of victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;
  • Impunity for acts of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and maximizing remedies for the victims of these violations

Working Methods

In the discharge of her mandate the Special Rapporteur:

  1. Transmits urgent appeals and communications to States on alleged violations regarding contemporary forms of racism, discrimination based on race, xenophobia and related intolerance to the State concerned, in order to induce the national authority to undertake the necessary investigations of all the incidents or individual cases reported. (See Individual Complaints).
  2. Undertakes fact-finding country visits.
  3. Submits annual reports on the activities foreseen by the mandate to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly.