Published January, 1969

International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, 660 U.N.T.S. 195 (1969)

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination ("CERD") is an international treaty designed to protect individuals from discrimination based on race that is both intentional or the result of neutral policies. Particularly relevant to HIV/AIDS issues are: the requirement that state parties take concrete measures in social, economic, cultural, and other fields to ensure the adequate development and protection of certain racial groups or individuals belonging to them for the purpose of guaranteeing them the full and equal enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms (Article 2); and the requirement that state parties undertake to prohibit and eliminate racial discrimination in all its forms and to guarantee the right of everyone to equality before the law in the enjoyment of rights including the right to work and to free choice of employment, the right to housing, the right to public health, medical care, social security, and social services, and the right to education and training (Article 5).  

As a treaty, CERD is binding on all parties that ratify it; those who sign but do not ratify it are obligated not to act contrary to the purpose of the convention under Article 18 of the Vienna Convention. State parties must submit periodic reports to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination detailing how they are giving effect to CERD. Moreover, under Articles 11-13, if a state party is not giving effect to the provisions of CERD, another state party may bring this to the attention of the Committee, which will collect information from the relevant state parties and, if the dispute cannot be reconciled, will form an ad hoc commission to investigate and issue recommendations. Under Article 14, a state party has the option of allowing the Committee to receive and consider complaints from individuals claiming that the state party has violated their rights under CERD, and the Committee will issue recommendations to the state party accordingly.
The United States has ratified CERD, but has not exercised the option set forth in Article 14.