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International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

Ratifying the ICERD underscores Singapore’s commitment to work towards eliminating racial discrimination. The Government will work with stakeholders to fulfil our commitments under the ICERD to eliminate racial discrimination and strengthen racial harmony.

Background of ICERD careers-list-arrow

The International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 21 Dec 1965, and is the oldest of the nine core international conventions on human rights by the UN.

The Convention requires countries to condemn all forms of racial discrimination, whether based on race, colour, descent, nationality or ethnic origin, and to pursue a policy of eliminating racial discrimination. States Parties to the Convention are expected to fulfil their treaty obligations via legislative, judicial, administrative and institutional measures. ICERD further recognises that affirmative action measures may be necessary to achieve some of these ends.

Key Articles careers-list-arrow

ICERD consists of 25 articles that cover:
  • Articles 1 to 7 – Obligate States Parties to provide everyone, regardless of race, effective protection and remedies from racial discrimination;
  • Articles 8 to 16 – Describe the monitoring process for States Parties’ implementation of the Convention’s provisions;
  • Articles 17 to 20 – Establish ground rules for ratification and accession procedures; and
  • Articles 21 to 25 – List administrative provisions of the ICERD.

Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination careers-list-arrow

The CERD is the international body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the ICERD by its State Parties. Once the ICERD has been ratified, all States Parties are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee on its implementation. The Committee examines each report, and address its concerns and recommendations to the State Party for follow up.

Singapore and the ICERD careers-list-arrow

Singapore signed  the ICERD on 19 October 2015 and ratified it on 27 November 2017. This represents Singapore’s commitment to preserving a multiracial society free from racial discrimination, where every person is equal before the law. For more details on Singapore’s ratification, refer to:

Role of Government
MCCY chairs an Inter-Ministry Committee on the ICERD. The Committee monitors Singapore’s progress and ensures the implementation the ICERD by reviewing our laws and policies, and proposing improvements to address racial discrimination.

Role of stakeholders and CSOs
Stakeholders and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) play a vital role in making the commitments set out in ICERD a reality. The Singapore Government engages stakeholders and CSOs, to raise awareness and consult the public on ICERD and the elimination of racial discrimination in Singapore.

Raising public awareness
The following materials have been developed to raise public awareness on the ICERD and racial discrimination.

Singapore's first ICERD report careers-list-arrow

Singapore submitted its first State Party Report on the ICERD in December 2018. All States Parties are required to submit a report on the implementation of the ICERD to the CERD. Thereafter, States Parties will present to the CERD regarding the measures in the Report.

Highlights of Report
The Report describes the Government’s holistic approach to preserving and strengthening social cohesion, which has three pillars: legislation that safeguards racial and religious harmony; policies that foster social integration; and programmes that mobilise the community to work together for the common good.
It also highlights key measures that Singapore has undertaken to eliminate racial discrimination and strengthen racial harmony. Some of these measures include the roles of the Presidential Council for Minority Rights, ethnic-based Self-Help Groups, and the Ethnic Integration Policy.

Consultations on the ICERD Report
Singapore fosters social cohesion with multiple stakeholders, with each playing a role in addressing racial discrimination. In preparing the Report, the Government consulted a wide range of stakeholders, including youths, academics, religious and community leaders, community organisations and CSOs.  MCCY also invited members of the public to provide feedback on the draft Report from September to October 2018 through REACH.

The Report
The following is Singapore’s first ICERD Report and the accompanying Annex of charts.

Last updated on 01 November 2021