A group of people including many children standing behind a fence.

South Africans separated by a fence from the white community near Johannesburg in 1973. The first UN Conference to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination took place in Geneva five years later. UN Photo

World Conference to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination
14-25 August 1978, Geneva 


The first UN conference focusing on racism

Five years after the General Assembly established the Decade for Action to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination, the first World Conference to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination took place in 1978. 

The Declaration and Programme of Action which resulted from the Conference stated, in part, that:

All human beings are born equal in dignity and rights. Any doctrine of racial superiority is, therefore, scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust and dangerous, and has no justification whatsoever;
Racism and racial discrimination are continuing scourges which must be eradicated throughout the world;

Consequently, national, regional and international educational resources should be developed and used in ways which will promote mutual understanding between all human beings and demonstrate and teach the scientific basis of ethnic and racial equality and the value of cultural diversity with a view to destroying the basis of racist attitudes and practices;
All peoples and all human groups have contributed to the progress of civilization and cultures which constitute the common heritage of humanity;
All forms of discrimination are violations of fundamental human rights, and governmental policies which are based on the theory of racial superiority, exclusiveness or hatred also jeopardize friendly relations among peoples and cooperation between nations, and thereby jeopardize international peace and security.”