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The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination by its State parties.

All States parties are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee on how the rights are being implemented. States must report initially one year after acceding to the Convention and then every two years. The Committee examines each report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the State party in the form of “concluding observations”.

In addition to the reporting procedure, the Convention establishes three other mechanisms through which the Committee performs its monitoring functions:

The Committee also publishes its interpretation of the content of human rights provisions, known as general recommendations (or general comments), and organizes thematic discussions.

The Committee meets in Geneva and normally holds three sessions per year consisting of three-four-three weeks per year.

The work of the Committee

The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the periodic review by CERD, and the actions taken by the States parties to fulfil their obligations have had wide-ranging, positive results over the years. These include:

  • Amendments to national constitutions to include provisions prohibiting racial discrimination;
  • Systematic reviews of existing laws and regulations to amend those which

perpetuate racial discrimination, or the passing of new laws to satisfy the requirements of the Convention;

  • Amendments to the law at the suggestion of CERD;
  • Making racial discrimination a punishable offence;
  • Legal guarantees against discrimination in justice, security, political rights, or access to places intended for use by the general public;
  • Educational programmes;
  • Creation of new agencies to deal with problems of racial discrimination and to protect the interests of indigenous groups;
  • Consulting CERD in advance about planned changes in the law or administrative practices.

Because States parties are answerable for their policies on racial discrimination in an international forum, this brings national law and practices into line with the Convention. Over the years, CERD and States parties have established a relationship of mutual trust; the recommendations and requests the Committee makes are generally given serious consideration.