United Nations

Article 2 (1a) International Conventions on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD):

“Each State Party undertakes to engage in no act or practice of racial discrimination against persons, groups of persons or institutions and to ensure that all public authorities and public institutions, national and local, shall act in conformity with this obligation”.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the UN also includes a prohibition of discrimination with respect to rights and freedoms. In addition, Article 7 guarantees equality before the law and the indiscriminate entitlement to protection by the law.

Furthermore, Article 26 of the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights postulates equality before the law in a general principle of equality, which is laid down in Article 3 of the Basic Law on the national level. It reproduces in its first part Article 7, first sentence, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

It is possible to derive the principle of non- discrimination in education and a right to participation in non-discriminatory access to educational institutions from various international agreements. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) also contains various obligations for the protection of children, including educational objectives to avoid discrimination as for example in Article 29 CRC.

The International Conventions on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) of the UN formulates a far-reaching prohibition of discrimination in Article 2. Thus, States Parties undertake to refrain from acts and practices of 'racial discrimination' against persons, groups of persons or entities. In addition, it should be ensured that state and local authorities as well as public institutions act in accordance with this obligation. Furthermore, States Parties undertake to establish effective measures to evaluate the actions of public authorities and to amend, repeal or annul laws and regulations that constitute 'racial discrimination'.

Consequently, ICERD takes a step further than other international treaties by including authorities and their laws and regulations in the statement.

On 5 and 6 May 2015, the German government presented its report on racism in Germany to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The concluding observations of the Committee also address the concept of institutional racism:

“While noting the delegation’s acknowledgment of the State party’s difficulty in effectively investigating the series of murders committed by NSU, the Committee remains concerned at the State party’s continued failure to recognize its systemic shortcomings in identifying and handling the racial motivation behind such acts, which may mask institutional racism.”, 86th session.

© Büro zur Umsetzung von Gleichbehandlung e.V. 2018