1994 October 21

U.S. Ratifies UN Convention Against Racial Discrimination


The U.S. signed the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in September 1966, but did not finally ratify it until this day, 28 years later. The U.S. adopted several Reservations to the Convention (a formal part of the UN process), however, regarding possible limitations on freedom of speech.

Other important UN human rights agreements include the Convention Against Genocide (December 9, 1948, and the U.S ratification on November 4, 1988); the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (December 18, 1979), which the U.S has never ratified because of conservative opposition; the Convention Against Torture (December 10, 1984), and the U.S. ratification (October 21, 1994); and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (March 30, 2007), which the U.S. has not ratified because of opposition from conservatives (November 5, 2013).

 U.S. Reservation: “The Constitution of the United States contains provisions for the protection of individual rights, such as the right of free speech, and nothing in the Convention shall be deemed to require or to authorize legislation or other action by the United States of America incompatible with the provisions of the Constitution of the United States of America.”

Read the Convention Against Racial Discrimination: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CERD.aspx

Read the ACLU FAQ’s about the Convention: http://www.aclu.org/pdfs/humanrights/cerd_faqs.pdf

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