The International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) was passed by the United Nations in 1969 and was ratified by the Australian Government in 1975. This Convention forms the basis for Australia's Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth).
The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination was established in 1969 to monitor the compliance of member states with their obligations under the Convention. The Committee may consider communications by a state who is party to the Convention against another party for alleged breaches of those obligations. The federal government recognised the competence of the Committee in 1993. Australia was called to report to the Committee on its compliance particularly in relation to the treatment of Indigenous peoples rights under the native Title Amendment Bill, in 1998.
'Article 5 Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination.
In compliance with the fundamental obligations laid down in article 2 of this Convention, States Parties undertake to prohibit and to eliminate racial discrimination in all its forms and to guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, colour, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law, notably in the enjoyment of the following rights:
(a) The right to equal treatment before the tribunals and all other organs administering justice;
(b) The right to security of person and protection by the State against violence or bodily harm, whether inflicted by government officials or by any individual, group or institution;
(c) Political rights, in particular the rights to participate in elections, to vote and to stand for election on the basis of universal and equal suffrage, to take part in the Government as well as in the conduct of public affairs at any level and to have equal access to public service;
(d) Other civil rights, in particular:
(i) The right to freedom of movement and residence within the border of the State;
(ii) The right to leave any country, including one's own, and to return to one's country;
(iii) The right to nationality;
(iv) The right to marriage and choice of spouse;
(v) The right to own property alone as well as in association with others;
(vi) The right to inherit;
(vii) The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion;
(viii) The right to freedom of opinion and expression;
(ix) The right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association;
(e) Economic, social and cultural rights, in particular:
(i) The rights to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work, to protection against unemployment, to equal pay for equal work, to just and favourable remuneration;
(ii) The right to form and join trade unions;
(iii) The right to housing;
(iv) The right to public health, medical care, social security and social services;
(v) The right to education and training;
(vi) The right to equal participation in cultural activities;
(f) The right of access to any place or service intended for use by the general public, such as transport, hotels, restaurants, cafes, theatres and parks.'
Keywords: Racial Discrimination Act , 1975 , United Nations, 1975
Author: Strelein, Lisa