The International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD)

The International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) commits all State parties (currently 176) to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination and to promote understanding amongst all races.

ICERD was adopted in 1965 and entered into force in 1969. The UK ratified ICERD in March1969.

Article 1 of the Convention states that racial discrimination is 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.”

The full text of the convention can be accessed here.

There are currently 35 General Comments which clarify the scope and content of ICERD’s provisions, which can be accessed here.

State parties are obliged to produce reports to the Committee which outline progress and legislative, judicial and policy measures taken to fulfil their obligations under the Convention. Each State is meant to submit a report one year after consenting to the Convention and then every two years thereafter.

The last UK State report (21st-23rd periodic reports) was submitted in March 2015. The next report (24th-26th reporting rounds) is due to be submitted by 6th April 2020.

The most recent review of the UK took place in August 2016, accompanying Concluding Observations can be accessed here.

More information on the reporting status and access to all relevant documentation including: State reports, Civil society & NHRI submissions; Concluding Observations and follow-up State reports can be accessed here.

NHRI Engagement

The Commission supports the Equality and Human Rights Commission's work to monitor the UK's implementation of ICERD. The Commission submitted its contribution to the 2016 review through the EHRC Submission.

Civil Society Engagement

Civil society has the potential to engage with this treaty in a number of ways:

  1. Submitting written information to the Committee
  2. Submitting an alternative report
  3. Providing information for the list of issues
  4. Attending Sessions and Making Oral Submissions to the Committee

A helpful guide for civil society on how to engage with this mechanism can be accessed here.


The ratification of international Human Rights treaties; the reporting cycles and all the documents related to a reporting cycle can be accessed here.

Details on the sessions of the Committee may be found here.

A full list of the current Committee members is available here.

The UN Handbook for Civil Society can be accessed here.

A helpful guide for Civil Society engagement can be accessed here.

Guidelines for State reporting for ICERD (civil society reports should resemble the structure of State reports) can be found here.