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




Introduction


The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (UNCERD)

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (UNCERD) places an onus on UN member states who are party to the Convention ‘to pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a policy of eliminating racial discrimination in all its forms and promoting understanding among all races. The Convention covers the legislative, judicial, administrative or other measures that need to be implemented to give effect to its provisions. It was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 21 December, 1965 and entered into force on 2 January, 1969 in accordance with Article 19.


Ireland and the ICERD

Ireland signed the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in 1968. Following the enactment of the Employment Equality Act 1998 and the Equal Status Act 2000, the Convention was ratified by Ireland in December 2000 and entered into force in January 2001.

Reservation/Interpretative Declaration in relation to Article 4 of the International Convention on All Forms of Racial Discrimination

Reply from Minister Shatter on 23rd May 2012 to a PQ on Ireland's Reservation on Article 4.

"Ireland signed the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in 1968 and ratified it in December, 2000 whereupon it became binding on Ireland in international law. At the time of ratification of the Convention, a reservation/interpretative declaration was entered in relation to Article 4 of the Convention.

The declaration (i) notes that the measures described in Article 4(a), (b) and (c) shall be undertaken with due regard to the principles embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the rights set forth in Article 5 of the Convention and (ii) states that Ireland considers that through the measures described in Article 4, the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the right to peaceful assembly and association may not be jeopardised.

According to the United Nations Treaty Collection website, http://treaties.un.org,
a number of other States Parties have made similar declarations.

I have no immediate plans to propose withdrawing Ireland’s reservation/interpretative declaration on Article 4 of the Convention."

Reporting on Progress

Under Article 9 of the Convention, Ireland is required to submit periodic reports to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UNCERD Committee) on the legislative, judicial and other measures which have been adopted to give effect to the provisions of the convention. Ireland submitted its First National Report in March 2004, subsequently deemed by the UNCERD Committee as the Initial and Second Periodic Report. NGOs were also invited to submit a shadow report setting out their views on how Ireland was fulfilling its obligations under the Convention.

In March 2005, Mr. Frank Fahey T.D., the then Minister of State at the Department of Justice, Equality & Law Reform, headed an Irish delegation to the UN in Geneva for a dialogue with the UN CERD Committee on Ireland’s Initial and Second Periodic Report. Later that month, the UNCERD Committee published the Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – Ireland in relation to this report. The observations contained a number of recommendations for further action in relation to Ireland’s implementation of the Convention.

In June 2006, Ireland underwent a follow-up process. To facilitate this, Ireland prepared an update for Mr. Morten Kjaerum, the follow-up coordinator, on the recommendations of the UNCERD Committee. Following his visit here, Mr. Kjaerum submitted a report of his follow-up visit. The report was formally adopted by the UNCERD Committee.


Ireland's Combined Third and Fourth Report to the UNCERD Committee.

The Office of the Minister for Integration (which is now the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration) undertook responsibility for the co-ordination and transmission of Ireland's Combined Third and Fourth Report to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The report was transmitted to the UNCERD Committee on 22 December 2009. All relevant Government Departments were consulted and contributed material for the report.

Civil society groups and members of the public were also invited to submit relevant comments which were used to inform the preparation of the report. A consultation meeting with Civil society was undertaken in late 2008. The meeting was chaired by an independent expert and a report of the meeting was drawn up by an independent rapporteur. Some of the views expressed at this meeting are included in Part IV of the Combined State Report.

The then Office of the Minister for Integration chaired an Inter-departmental committee with representatives drawn from relevant Government Departments. A delegation of State officials travelled to Geneva for the examination and to engage in discussions with the CERD Committee over the course of the two days.

The examination of Ireland's latest State report took place at 3pm onTuesday 22nd of February 2011and again at 10am on Wednesday the 23rd of February 2011. Ireland's Opening Statement to the Committee can be found here.

A copy of the Combined Third and Fourth State Report by Ireland to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination can be found at this link.

A copy of the Committee's Concluding Observations can be found at this link.

Information from other sources such as Civil Society Shadow Reports can be accessed through this search page of the Committee’s website.

In accordance with article 9, paragraph 1, of the Convention and rule 65 of its amended rules of procedure, the Committee requested Ireland to provide information, within one year of the adoption of the Concluding Observations (i.e. by April 2012), on Ireland's follow-up to the recommendations contained in paragraphs 11, 12, 15 and 16 of the Concluding Observations. The report, which has been transmitted to the Committee, is available here.

Ireland's Combined Fifth to Seventh Reports to the UNCERD Committee.

Ireland's combined Fifth to Seventh periodic reports to the UNCERD Committee are due to be submitted in 2014.



Tackling racism and promoting diversity is not just the responsibility of Government. Everybody in Irish society, including individuals, organisations, businesses, Governmental and non- Governmental Organisations have a responsibility to address racism and its impact on the people who experience it.



Details of the work already undertaken or planned in this area are outlined in this section of our website.






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