Understanding the process with CERD

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

CERD Reporting Process explained
INFOGRAPHIC: Reporting to CERD: How it works and why your voice matters.        CLICK TO ENLARGE

The United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (UN CERD)

The United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (UN CERD) 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 list 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 (CERD) 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 5 years.

Ireland and CERD

The Committee examines each country approximately every 5 years and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the state party in the form of “concluding observations”. The Irish Government is required to implement CERD recommendations within that time, however its reporting to CERD is now overdue, as the last report was submitted in 2011.

Before the publication of the final report, the Government conducted a consultation process where individuals and organisations were asked for submissions in response to the initial Government’s draft 5th to 7th Report (Sometimes also referred to as the 5th to 9th Report). ENAR Ireland issued its submission. In October 2018 the Department of Justice submitted their final 5th to 9th Combined report to the CERD.

The Irish Government is presenting its 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 the following parallel reports from each State Party:

  • National Human Rights Institution (NHRI), which in Ireland’s case is IHREC
  • Alternative Reports from Civil Society Organisations, both from individual organisations and collective. 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.

Get involved

To get involved and have your say on the state of racism in Ireland you can:

  • Fill in our CERD Questionnaire (by 20th August)
  • Fill in CERD Reporting Template (to be published on 7th August) by 2nd September).
  • Participate in our CERD Consultation Meetings (in Galway, Limerick, Dublin and Cork. Dates TBA)
  • Join our CERD Consultation Mailing List – email support@enarireland.org with ‘CERD’ in the subject line.
  • Follow the #CERD19 hashtag for updates.


UN CERD resources:

Other relevant documents: