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International Criminal Justice Standards - International Convention On The Elimination Of All Forms Of Racial Discrimination

race law cerd article

The Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Race Convention) entered into force on 12 March 1969, and had been ratified by 156 countries as of 15 November 2000. The preamble proclaims that "all human beings are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law." This principle of equality before the law is repeated in the opening paragraph of Article 5, which imposes upon state parties the obligation to guarantee this right to everyone, without distinction as to race, color, or national or ethnic origin. Article 2(1) (a) of the Convention affirms that each state party undertakes to ensure that public authorities and public institutions, national and local, shall not engage in acts or practices of racial discrimination against persons, groups of persons, or institutions.

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) has also interpreted the Race Convention on some aspects of the administration of justice. For example, L.K. v. the Netherlands (comm. No. 4/1991) involved de facto housing discrimination by members of the neighborhood where a foreign-born man wished to reside. In its opinion of 16 March 1993, CERD found that the mere existence of a law making discrimination a criminal act was insufficient and decided that the state's obligation to treat instances of racial discrimination with particular attention was missing. The police and judicial proceedings in the case did not afford the applicant effective protection and remedies within the meaning of Article 6 of the Race Convention. The CERD declared that the Netherlands should compensate the author and report back to the Committee on measures taken to remedy the situation.

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