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International human rights law

The principles of equality and non-discrimination are enshrined at the heart of modern international law, including in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the Charter of the United Nations. They also permeate the two key international human rights Covenants, on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, and on Civil and Political Rights, as well as dozens of conventions, treaties, declarations and other important international legal instruments.

The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) is the most comprehensive instrument concerned with combating racial discrimination. It was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 21 December 1965 and entered into force on 4 January 1969.

Other international instruments aim to protect vulnerable groups:

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