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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 our racial and religious harmony.

Background of ICERD

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

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

The CERD is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the ICERD by its State Parties. Once the ICERD has been ratified, all State parties are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee on how the rights are being implemented. Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and various stakeholders should be consulted in the writing of the report. The Committee examines each report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the State Party for follow up.

Singapore and the ICERD

Signing the ICERD on 19 October 2015 represented our commitment to preserving a multiracial society where every person is equal before the law, regardless of race or religion. Ratification of the ICERD on 27 November 2017, legally binds Singapore to meeting our commitments to strive towards a society free from racial discrimination.For more details, refer to: Singapore’s ratification of the ICERD.

Role of Government
MCCY chairs an Inter-Ministry Committee on ICERD. The Committee will monitor Singapore’s progress towards fulfilling our commitments in combatting racial discrimination.

Role of stakeholders and CSOs
Stakeholders and CSOs play a vital role in making the commitments set out in ICERD a reality. The Singapore Government will engage 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.


Last updated on 05 March 2019