8 Article 2: Obligations to Eliminate Racial Discrimination
From: The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination: A Commentary
- Religion — Ethnicity — Minorities — Race
This chapter describes Article 2 of the Convention, which acts as its engine, using language of a ‘vigorous nature’ to convert rights into a platform for practical action. While the article is logically organized in progressing from obligations directed at the State and its bodies towards regulating the actions of persons and groups, it is not a masterpiece of drafting. The travaux préparatoires reveal degrees of confusion regarding the proliferation of terms and the overlapping of sub-paragraphs. The drafting was strongly influenced by the metaphors of immediate action and speed of response, illustrating the then dominant view that the swift elimination of racial discrimination was achievable if only the colonial systems could be swiftly demolished and apartheid consigned to history. The assertions of ‘no discrimination here’, allied with those on the ‘unthinkable’ notion of State-sponsored discrimination outside the customary circles of infamy, cemented the overall approach.