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International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination

Under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, states parties undertake to eliminate racial discrimination in all its forms. It was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 21 December 1965. Switzerland acceded to the Convention on 29 November 1994.

The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) obliges states parties to pursue by all appropriate means a policy of eliminating racial discrimination in all its forms and promoting understanding among all races, to refrain from all acts and practices of racial discrimination, and to prohibit and prosecute such acts.

The Convention provides a definition of racial discrimination and sets out all the civil, political, economic, social and cultural human rights that must be guaranteed to everyone without distinction as to race. It also contains the basic right to effective judicial complaint procedures (legal remedies) in the event of any act of racial discrimination.

The Convention was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 21 December 1965 and came into force on 4 January 1969. The Convention was ratified by Switzerland on 29 November 1994, where it came into force on 29 December that year.  

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

Review mechanism

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is the body that reviews states parties' compliance with their obligations under the Convention. States parties must report regularly on the implementation of the measures taken to fulfil their obligations under the Convention.

States must report initially one year after acceding to the Convention and then every two years or when requested to by the Committee. The Committee can also require further information from the states parties. In 2021, the Committee conducted its review of Switzerland's combined 10th, 11th and 12th country reports.

The Service for Combating Racism within the Federal Department of Home Affairs is responsible for Switzerland's country reports on the implementation of its obligations under the Convention.

Combined 10th, 11th and 12th country report of Switzerland on its implementation of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, November 2018 (de) (PDF, 87 Pages, 1.8 MB, German)

Final recommendations of the Committee, 2021 (de) (PDF, 9 Pages, 440.7 kB, German)

Information on the ICERD and Switzerland's country reports (de, fr, it)

UN Committee against Racial Discrimination

Other review mechanisms

The Convention also provides for an individual complaints mechanism (Art. 14 ICERD) and an interstate complaints procedure (Art. 11 ICERD).Switzerland recognised the individual complaints mechanism on 19 June 2003.

Information on the individual complaints procedure of the Federal Commission against Racism (de, fr, it)

Last update 07.03.2022