International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
New York, 21 December 1965
  • Introductory Note
  • Procedural History
  • Documents
  • Status
  • Photo
F o r t h c o m i n g
Introductory note to be published

The Convention on the Elimination of All Racial Discrimination was adopted by the General Assembly on 21 December 1965 by resolution 2106 (XX), and it entered into force on 4 January 1969, thirty days after the deposit of the twenty-seventh instrument of ratification, as provided for in its article 19.

The path to the adoption of the Convention began on 7 December 1962, when the General Assembly adopted resolution 1780 (XVII), by which it requested the Economic and Social Council to ask the Commission on Human Rights to prepare both a draft declaration and a draft convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination.

In 1963, at its fifteenth session, the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities submitted a draft declaration on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination to the Commission on Human Rights. The General Assembly adopted the declaration in the same year. In 1964, at its sixteenth session, the Sub-Commission prepared a draft convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination, which it submitted to the Commission on Human Rights. The Commission submitted the draft convention to the Economic and Social Council, which in turn, submitted it to the General Assembly, which adopted it in 1965.

The Convention consists of a preamble and 25 articles. By the Convention, States parties condemn racial discrimination and undertake to pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a policy of eliminating racial discrimination in all its forms. The Convention establishes a Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which is to report annually to the General Assembly on, inter alia, measures undertaken by States parties to give effect to the provisions of the Convention, and which may handle disputes between States parties concerning the Convention.


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In 1961, the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, in the context of its examination of data relating to manifestations of anti-Semitism and other forms of racial prejudice and religious intolerance, proposed that further action be taken to combat such manifestations (Report of the Sub-Commission, E/CN.4/815). In the same year, the issue was considered by the Commission on Human Rights at its seventeenth session (resolution 5 (XVII) of 10 March 1961) and by the Economic and Social Council at its twenty-third session (resolution 826 B (XXXII) of 27 July 1961). The General Assembly was not able to consider the item at its sixteenth session due to time constraints and decided to take it up at its seventeenth session, in 1962. By resolution 1779 (XVII) of 7 December 1962, the General Assembly endorsed the recommendations of the Economic and Social Council aiming at the eradication of racial prejudice and national and religious intolerance. On the same day, the General Assembly, considering the necessity of taking all possible steps conducive to the final and total elimination of all manifestations of discrimination on difference of race, colour and religion, adopted resolution 1780 (XVII), by which it requested the Economic and Social Council to ask the Commission on Human Rights to prepare both a draft declaration and a draft convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination, bearing in mind the views of the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, the debates at the seventeenth session of the General Assembly, any proposals which may be submitted by Governments and any instruments adopted in this field by the specialized agencies.

The Sub-Commission decided, at its fifteenth session in 1963, to postpone the preparation of a draft convention, but it submitted a draft declaration on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination, which was contained in its resolution 7 (XV), to the Commission on Human Rights. The Commission considered this item at its nineteenth session and adopted resolution 9 (XIX) on 2 April 1963, submitting the draft declaration to the Economic and Social Council (E/3743, chapter VI). The draft declaration was adopted unanimously by the Economic and Social Council on 12 July 1963 (resolution 958 E (XXXVI)) and was submitted to the General Assembly. At its eighteenth session, the General Assembly adopted resolution 1904 (XVIII) of 20 November 1963, in which it proclaimed the Declaration on the Elimination of all Racial Discrimination.

On the same day, the General Assembly requested the Economic and Social Council to invite the Commission on Human Rights to give absolute priority to the preparation of a draft international convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination (resolution 1906 (XVIII)). On 17 December 1963, the Economic and Social Council decided to transmit this resolution to the Commission on Human Rights and the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. The Sub-Commission, at its sixteenth session, prepared a draft convention (resolution 1 (XVI) of 29 January 1964), which was adopted unanimously and submitted to the Commission on Human Rights. Additionally, a provisional draft was submitted expressing the views of the Sub-Commission on additional measures of implementation in order to make the future convention more effective (resolution 2 (XVI) of 29 January 1964).

The Commission on Human Rights considered these resolutions at its twentieth session, in 1964 (E/3873). It had, for its consideration, the debates on the topic at the seventeenth and eighteenth session of the General Assembly, the proposals and comments from governments, as well as the texts of a number of related international instruments, including the Convention of the International Labour Organization No. 11 concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Education of 1958, as well as the Convention of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Against Discrimination in Education of 1960 and its Protocol of 1962. At the conclusion of its debates on the topic, the Commission adopted a draft convention on the elimination of all racial discrimination (resolution 1 (XX) of 13 March 1964) and submitted it to the Economic and Social Council, which subsequently adopted it on 30 July 1964 (resolution 1015 (XXXVII) B of 30 July 1964), and referred it to the General Assembly.

The draft convention was considered by the General Assembly at its twentieth session, in 1965, both in the framework of the Third Committee and in the plenary. The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination was thereafter adopted by the General Assembly in resolution 2106 (XX) of 21 December 1965, by 106 votes in favour, none against and one abstention. The Convention was opened for signature on the same day, and entered into force on 4 January 1969, thirty days after the deposit of the twenty-seventh instrument of ratification, as provided for in its article 19.


Text of the Convention

Selected preparatory documents
(in chronological order)

Report of the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities on its thirteenth session (E/CN.4/815, 9 February 1961, Chapter IX)

Commission on Human Rights resolution 5 (XVII) of 10 March 1961 (Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities), in Report of the Commission on Human Rights on its seventeenth session (E/3456)

Economic and Social Council resolution 826 B (XXXII) of 27 July 1961 (Manifestations of racial prejudice and national and religious intolerance)

Third Committee of the General Assembly, Summary records of meetings Nos. 1165 to 1173, held respectively from 29 October to 5 November 1962 (A/C.3/SR.1165-1173)

General Assembly Resolution 1779 (XVII) of 7 December 1962 (Manifestations of racial prejudice and national and religious intolerance)

General Assembly Resolution 1780 (XVII) of 7 December 1962 (Preparation of a draft declaration and a draft convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination)

Report of the fifteenth session of the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities to the Commission on Human Rights, 14 January to 1 February 1963, Chapter X, and Annex (E/CN.4/846 and Corr.1)

Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities resolution 7 (XV) of 14 February 1963
(Draft Declaration on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination)

Commission on Human Rights resolution 9 (XIX) of 2 April 1963 (Draft declaration on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination), in Report of the Commission on Human Rights on its nineteenth session (E/3743, Chapter VI.)

Economic and Social Council resolution 958 E (XXXVI) of 12 July 1963 (Draft Declaration on Eliminations of all Forms of Racial Discrimination)

Third Committee of the General Assembly, Summary records of meetings Nos. 1213-1233, 1242, 1244-1249, 1251 and 1252, held on 26 September to 16 October, 25, 28 to 31 October, 1 and 4 November 1963 respectively (A/C.3/SR.1213-1233, 1242, 1244-1245, 1249, 1251 and 1252)

General Assembly, Verbatim records of plenary meetings Nos. 1260 and 1261, held on 20 November 1963 (A/PV.1260-61)

General Assembly resolution 1904 (XVIII) of 20 November 1963 (United Nations Declaration on All Forms of Racial Discrimination)

General Assembly Resolution 1906 (XVIII) of 20 November 1963 (Preparation of a draft declaration and a draft convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination)

Report of the Economic and Social Council of its nineteenth session, 3 August 1963 to 15 August 1964 (A/5803)

Report of 16th session of Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, Chapter II and Annexes II and III. (E/CN.4/873)

Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities resolution 1 (XVI) of 29 January 1964 (Draft International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination)

Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities resolution 2 (XVI) of 29 January 1964 (Additional Measures of Implementation)

Commission on Human Rights resolution 1 (XX) of 13 March 1964 (Draft Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination), in Report of the Commission on Human Rights on its twentieth session (E/3873, Chapter XI)

Report of the Commission on Human Rights on its twentieth session (E/3873)

Economic and Social Council resolution 1015 B (XXXVII) of 30 July 1964 (Draft International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination)

Third Committee of the General Assembly, Summary records of meetings Nos. 1299-1302 and 1304-1316, 1318, 1344 to 1347, 1349 to 1358, 1361 to 1368, 1373 to 1374, held on 11 to 22 October, 25 October, 16 to 29 November, 1 to 8 December, 14 to 15 December 1965 respectively (A/C.3/SR.1299-1302, 1304-1316, 1318, 1344-1347, 1349-1358, 1361-1368, 1373-1374)

General Assembly, Verbatim records of plenary meeting No. 1406, held on 21 December 1965 (A/PV.1406)

General Assembly Resolution 2106 (XX) of 20 December 1965 (International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination)


The Convention entered into force on 4 January 1969. For the current participation status of the Convention, as well as information and relevant texts of related treaty actions, such as reservations, declarations, objections, denunciations and notifications, see:

The Status of Multilateral Treaties Deposited with the Secretary-General
11 March 1963 Commission on Human Rights, Geneva, Switzerland.
[Read more]

18 February 1964 Commission on Human Rights, United Nations, New York. [Read more] 20 February 1964 Commission on Human Rights, United Nations, New York. [Read more] 20 February 1964
Commission on Human Rights, United Nations, New York. [Read more]
7 March 1966
Signing of the Convention,
United Nations,
New York. [Read more]

7 March 1966
Signing of the Convention,
United Nations,
New York. [Read more]
15 April 1966
Signing of the Convention,
United Nations, New York. [Read more]
7 June 1966
Signing of the Convention,
United Nations,
New York. [Read more]
19 September 1966
Signing of the Convention,
United Nations,
New York. [Read more]
21 March 1969
Special Commemorative Meeting of UN Commission on Human Rights, Geneva, Switzerland.
[Read more]

16 March 1970
United Nations,
New York. [Read more]
3 November 1970
Third Committee of the General Assembly,
United Nations,
New York. [Read more]
14 March 1972
United Nations,
New York. [Read more]
21 March 1973
Security Council, Panama City, Panama.
[Read more]
21 March 1978
Geneva, Switzerland. [Read more]
1 August 1983
World Conference Against Racism and Racial Discrimination, Geneva, Switzerland. [Read more]