Thematic Discussion on Racial Discrimination in Today's World: Racial profiling, ethnic cleansing and current global issues and challenges

29 November 2017, 15:00-18:00 ,
Palais des Nations, Council Chamber (C Building, First Floor)

English: Word | PDF

Watch the thematic discussion live here:

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Background Note

1.   Introduction

Undeniable progress has been made since the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination came into force in 1969. However, racism and its destructive effects persist and have lately been reinforced in a variety of situations in the global context.

While the legacies of slavery continue to be visible in the ongoing discrimination against people of African descent, structural discrimination also continues to blight the lives of minorities and Indigenous Peoples globally. Hate speech continues unabated, including at the highest levels of government, and racist hate crimes, including violence, tear apart lives of minorities, migrants and people on the move today. Most alarming of all is the climbing death toll of people who are killed on the basis of their ethnicity, identity and colour.

In light of the use and abuse of identity for the purposes of exclusion on the grounds of race colour descent national or ethnic origin, as outlined in Article 1 of the ICERD, the Committee decided to hold a thematic discussion that will focus on racial profiling, ethnic cleansing, as well as other associated issues as they affect the experiences of racial discrimination by citizens, non-citizens and people on the move. 

The discussion builds on productive consultations held by the Committee over the past year with States and with civil society, and reflects concerns raised in its concluding observations, general recommendations, statements, and procedures. It seeks to delve deeper into a few of the pressing global challenges of racial discrimination, learning from the concerns and experiences of stakeholders in order to improve the impact of the Committee’s work to fight racial discrimination particularly with regard to racial profiling and ethnic cleansing. 

2.   Focus and Objectives

The objectives of the thematic discussion are to: (1) deepen the understanding of key current issues which challenge the elimination of racial discrimination globally; (2) provide an opportunity for participants to share their experiences and reflect on issues and challenges they face in addressing racial discrimination; (3) provide an ongoing opportunity for feedback to the Committee from States parties and other stakeholders; and (4) inform the Committee's work and development of recommendations on these issues, in particular racial profiling and ethnic cleansing.

3.   Date and Venue

The thematic discussion will take place on 29 November 2017 at the Palais des Nations, Council Chamber (C Building, first floor), from 15:00 to 18:00 hrs.

4.   Methodology

The thematic discussion will be opened by short presentations from a panel of international experts followed by questions, comments and interventions by participants and Committee members exploring the topics of ethnic cleansing and racial profiling as well as associated issues from a CERD perspective. The discussion will be based around the following questions:


  1. What have been your experiences, challenges, and lessons learned in working to combat racial profiling and ethnic cleansing to date?
  2. How can the CERD Committee strengthen its work against racial profiling and ethnic cleansing, for greater impact on the ground?
  3. What are the other pressing/associated issues of racial discrimination in your country/work?

5.   Participants

The Committee invites States, United Nations human rights mechanisms, national human rights institutions, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, academic institutions and other relevant stakeholders to attend the thematic discussion and actively participate in the dialogue to share their experiences and express their ideas and solutions.

6.   Outcome

The thematic discussion will enhance the Committee's understanding of current experiences of racial discrimination in particular the challenges of racial profiling and ethnic cleansing occurring in various contexts., It aims to identify concrete suggestions for the Committee on how it can work with stakeholders and use the ICERD to end these practices and their damaging impact at the national, regional and global levels.

7.   Accreditation

Please create your account and fill out the registration form available online (Accreditation) before 17 November 2017.
In case of any query, please contact the Secretariat of the Committee at:


Background note:
English: PDF
French: Word | PDF
Spanish: Word | PDF


Civil Society Consultation

 Joining hands to end racial discriminatiom, CERD Consultation with Civil Society 

Country-specific information