Skip to main content
General comments and recommendations

General recommendation No. 36 (2020) on preventing and combating racial profiling by law enforcement officials


17 December 2020

UN symbol



Racial discrimination

Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination


This general recommendation is of relevance to all stakeholders in the fight against racial discrimination, and through its publication the Committee seeks to contribute to the strengthening of democracy, the rule of law, and peace and security among communities, peoples and States.

In drafting the present general recommendation, the Committee has taken account of its extensive practice in addressing racial profiling by law enforcement officials, primarily in the context of the review of State party reports and in key general recommendations. The Committee explicitly addressed the issue of racial profiling:

  • in its general recommendation No. 30 (2004) on discrimination against non-citizens,);
  • in its general recommendation No. 31 (2005) on the prevention of racial discrimination in the administration and functioning of the criminal justice system, and
  • in general recommendation No. 34 (2011) on racial discrimination against people of African descent.

The Committee, in its concluding observations, has repeatedly expressed concern about the use of racial profiling by law enforcement officials and has recommended that States parties take measures to put an end to the practice.

In addition, several other international human rights mechanisms have explicitly highlighted racial profiling as a violation of international human rights law. In more recent concluding observations, the Human Rights Committee has regularly expressed concern at the continuous practice of racial profiling by law enforcement officials, targeting in particular specific groups such as migrants, asylum seekers, people of African descent, indigenous peoples, and members of religious and ethnic minorities, including Roma; the concern has been echoed by the Committee against Torture.

Delivered To:

The 102nd session, 16–24 November 2020