Public event

Germany and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

The Centre for Fundamental Rights is honoured to welcome Prof. Mehrdad Payandeh for a distinguished lecture on Germany and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

The 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination is the first of the nine core human rights treaties of the United Nations. It prohibits discriminatory laws and practices of the State Parties as well as apartheid and segregation. It obliges States to take measures to protect groups and individuals from racial discrimination and to ensure that they can enjoy their human rights and fundamental freedoms to the full extent and on an equal footing with everyone else. States must fight hate speech, provide for effective remedies against discrimination, and take measures to combat prejudices and to promote understanding, tolerance, and friendship. The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination monitors the application of the Convention as well as compliance of the member States with the Convention and contributes to its understanding through its decisions, views, as well as general recommendations.

But what kind of measures does the Convention require the State Parties to take? How do the Convention and the recommendations of the Committee influence the domestic legal order and the practice of States in the context of racial discrimination? And how can the Convention enhance the understanding of States for racial discrimination and contribute to the transformatory processes necessary to eliminate racial discrimination not only on paper but in the practice of States and in society as a whole? The presentation will address these questions using the example of Germany, a long-standing party to the Convention which has, however, only recently started to pay more attention to the phenomenon of racism and to racial discrimination in all its manifestations. It will try to identify the – until now severely under-explored – potential of the Convention and of the practice of the Committee with regard to current debates taking place in Germany for example concerning the concept of “race”, the significance of the structural dimension of racial discrimination, and the potential of affirmative action for people who are vulnerable to racial discrimination.

Mehrdad Payandeh is a Professor of international law, European Union law and public law at Bucerius Law School in Hamburg. Since 2020 he is also a member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. His research and teaching focuses on general international law and international human rights law in particular, anti-discrimination law as well as constitutional law and theory.

The event will be moderated by Başak Çalı, Professor of International Law and Co-Director of the Centre for Fundamental Rights at the Hertie School.

This event is part of the Distinguished Lectures event series hosted by the Centre for Fundamental Rights.

Prior registration is required. Registered attendees will receive the login details via e-mail prior to the event.