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The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination - A Commentary by Thornberry, Patrick (14th July 2016)

18 Article 20: Reservations

From: The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination: A Commentary

Patrick Thornberry

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2015. All Rights Reserved.date: 06 July 2020

Ethnicity — Minorities — Race

This chapter details the reservations clause in the Convention—Article 20—which had been a subject of controversy and contradictory stances by the drafting bodies. The making of reservations is a power that derives from the sovereign prerogative of States to refuse to give their consent to particular provisions in a treaty. Proponents of the clause visualized it as saving the Convention from destruction; opponents argued the case for deleting the clause and encouraging the greatest number of ratifications of a ‘controversial’ Convention, leaving the matter of reservations to be addressed under general international law. The chapter notes, however, that it is too early to conclude that Article 20 has not worked. Generally speaking, challenges to the Committee’s understanding of the Convention have tended to come through the options for dialogue and comment available to State parties under the ‘regular’ procedures, rather than through the medium of reservations.

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