The Neglected Pillar: The 'Teaching Tolerance' Provision of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
9 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2006 Last revised: 12 May 2010
Date Written: May 12, 2010
Enactment of laws will not, alone, achieve elimination of racial discrimination. As a delegate stated in the UNGA session that adopted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination:
"Using legislation by itself was like cutting down a noxious weed above the ground and leaving the roots intact."
Recognizing this, the drafters of the Convention took aim at the root causes of discrimination by including Article 7. This provision, in order to address the prejudices that lead to racial discrimination, requires states parties to adopt measures in the fields of "teaching, education, culture and information."
The first two fields include not only education in schools, but also training of those who hold power over individuals, such as police, judges, prosecutors and enforcers of regulations. That states should also adopt measures in the field of "culture" shows recognition of the impact that cultural events, films, music and the like have in shaping attitudes and views. Similarly, the field of "information" recognizes the powerful role the media play in shaping opinion.
However, despite the importance of these measures in tackling the root causes of racial discrimination, Article 7 has been virtually ignored by commentators and states alike. This paper provides an overview of the drafting history of Article 7 and reviews the observations by CERD regarding measures states should take to meet their obligations under this provision.
Keywords: racial discrimination, prejudice, human rights, international convention, treaty, root causes, police, media, culture, education
JEL Classification: J70, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation