The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set out therein, without distinction of any kind, in particular as to race, colour or national origin.
The United Nations has worked for human rights and for the eradication of racism and racial discrimination around the world since its creation in 1945.
The first World Conference to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination was held in Geneva in 1978. The second World Conference to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination was held in Geneva in Geneva in 1983.
The World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance was held in Durban, South Africa in 2001. That conference produced the most authoritative and comprehensive programme for combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance: the . In April 2009, the Durban Review Conference in Geneva evaluated progress towards the goals set by the 2001 Durban Conference and examined global progress made in overcoming racism and concluded that much remained to be achieved.
In September 2011, the UN General Assembly held a one day high-level meeting in New York to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action. There, world leaders adopted by consensus a proclaiming their "strong determination to make the fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and the protection of the victims thereof, a high priority for [their] countries."
Coming as it did during the 2011 International Year for People of African Descent, the 10th anniversary was a chance to strengthen political commitment in fighting racism and racial discrimination.
On 23 December 2013, the General Assembly proclaimed the International Decade for People of African Descent commencing 1 January 2015 and ending on 31 December 2024, with the theme “People of African descent: recognition, justice and development.”
In September 2021, the UN General Assembly will bring together world leaders for a one day meeting in New York to mark the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.
RACISM AND 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 is the most comprehensive instrument concerned with combating racial discrimination.
OTHER INTERNATIONAL INSTRUMENTS
Other UN international instruments specifically designed to protect against discrimination are the Equal Remuneration Convention (1951) and the Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention (1958), which were both adopted by the General Conference of the International Labour Organization (ILO); the Convention against Discrimination in Education (1960) and the Declaration on Race and Racial Prejudice (1978) which were adopted by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); and the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, proclaimed by the General Assembly in 1981. Efforts to fight discrimination have been further strengthened by the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007) and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol (2008).