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

2 The Convention: Genesis and Background

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

Religion — Ethnicity — Gender — Minorities — Race

This chapter provides a brief résumé of racial theory in its interface with colonialism. In international law and relations, the theory was complemented by assertions of difference and hierarchy that rested on analogous but not identical grounds. While the definition of racial discrimination in the Convention reaches beyond ‘race’ to include discrimination on the grounds of colour, descent, and national or ethnic origin, the ideology of ‘race’ represented the major point of departure for the drafters of the Convention, and warrants explanation. The discrediting of racial theory through conceptual revision and legal standards is also accounted for, even as those standards continue to ‘recycle’ the vocabulary of race in their efforts to confront it. The final section of the chapter reviews the landmark normative and institutional developments that led to the Convention.

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