Understanding the process with CERD

To better understand the process of reporting to the United Nation Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UN CERD) this page provides some background information and key documents on the ICERD, CERD and Ireland’s CERD reporting.

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

The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) is a United Nations convention that was written in the 60s’ when the UN took into account that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was not enough to hold governments into account regarding racial discrimination. The convention was adopted by the UN in 1965.

Ireland ratified the Convention in 2000.

What does the Convention say?

The Convention has 25 Articles. Articles 2 to 7 spell-out States obligations:

Art2: Measures to be taken to eliminate racial discrimination.

Art3: Racial segregation and apartheid.

Art4: Prohibition of racial incitement.

Art5: Equality in the enjoyment of rights.

Art6: Remedies for racial discrimination.

Art7: Education.

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is the UN body of human rights experts tasked with monitoring the implementation of the ICERD Convention. It consists of 18 independent human rights experts, elected for four-year terms. All countries who ratified the convention are required to submit regular reports to the Committee outlining the legislative, judicial, policy and other measures they have taken to give effect to the Convention. Reports are supposedly due every two years but actually expected every 4 years.

Ireland and CERD

Ireland (the government) is now overdue with its reporting to CERD as the last report was submitted in 2011. The Committee examines each country report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the state party in the form of “concluding observations”.  In October 2018 the Department of Justice submitted their 5th to 9th Combined Report to the UN CERD. Before the publication of the report, the Government conducted a small consultation process. ENAR Ireland issued its submission in response to the initial Government’s draft 5th to 7th Report (Sometimes also referred to as the 5th to 9th Report).

The Irish Government is presenting its joint Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh State Report to the CERD committee in Geneva for examination in November/December 2019.

The Reporting Process for NGOs:

At the same time the Committee wants reports from each State Party’s National Human Rights Institution (NHRI), which in Ireland’s case is IHREC, and also Alternative Reports from Civil Society Organisations. Collective Civil Society Alternative reports are considered stronger.

ENAR Ireland is therefore coordinating Ireland’s Collective Civil Society Alternative Report through a process of consultation over the summer of 2019.

The International Movement against all forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR) who support NGOs to report to CERD has produced a comprehensive guide for Civil Society Actors.


To get involved and have your say, please contact: support@enarireland.org and follow the #CERD19 hashtag.



UN CERD resources:

Other relevant documents:


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