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Undeniable progress has been made since the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination came into force in 1969. However, racism and its destructive effects persist and have lately been reinforced in a variety of situations in the global context.
While the legacies of slavery continue to be visible in the ongoing discrimination against people of African descent, structural discrimination also continues to blight the lives of minorities and Indigenous Peoples globally. Hate speech continues unabated, including at the highest levels of government, and racist hate crimes, including violence, tear apart lives of minorities, migrants and people on the move today. Most alarming of all is the climbing death toll of people who are killed on the basis of their ethnicity, identity and colour.
In light of the use and abuse of identity for the purposes of exclusion on the grounds of race, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin, as outlined in Article 1 of the ICERD, the Committee decided to hold a thematic discussion on racial profiling and ethnic cleansing, as well as other associated issues as they affect the experiences of racial discrimination by citizens, non-citizens and people on the move.
The discussion builds on productive consultations held by the Committee over the past year with States and with civil society, and reflects concerns raised in its concluding observations, general recommendations, statements, and procedures. It delves deeper into a few of the pressing global challenges of racial discrimination, learning from the concerns and experiences of stakeholders in order to improve the impact of the Committee’s work to fight racial discrimination particularly with regard to racial profiling and ethnic cleansing.
The thematic discussion took place on 29 November 2017 at the Palais des Nations, Council Chamber (C Building, first floor), from 15:00 to 18:00 hrs.
The Committee invited States, United Nations human rights mechanisms, National Human Rights Institutions, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, academic institutions and other relevant stakeholders to attend the thematic discussion and actively participate in the dialogue to share their experiences and express their ideas and solutions.
The thematic discussion enhanced the Committee's understanding of current experiences of racial discrimination, in particular the challenges of racial profiling and ethnic cleansing occurring in various contexts., It identified concrete suggestions for the Committee on how it can work with stakeholders and use the ICERD to end these practices and their damaging impact at the national, regional and global levels.