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Race, Racism and the Law 
Speaking Truth to Power!

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NGO Forum, World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination
Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, Durban, South Africa, August 27-Sept 1, 2001

This page is part of much larger document. Please be sure to read the Overview, the Declaration-Guiding Principles, Programme of Action-Guiding Principles, and Programme of Action - Legal Measures which provide the context for understanding this page. Click here to Download Word Document.




108. Education is critically important in combating and preventing prejudice as well as the protection of individual human rights and specifically with regard to Indigenous Peoples, Dalits and minority and vulnerable groups and further recalling that many State parties have not yet implemented ICERD article 7.

109. Bearing in mind that education is a primary function of understanding human rights and freedoms, we deplore the fact that some educational systems are used as tools for advancing racist, sexist, casteist and supremacists ideologies and in doing so employ texts, documents and other tools of learning that convey pejorative images through omission of facts of past and present realities of Africans, Indigenous Peoples, Asians, Dalits, and their descendants and members of other minority and marginalized communities.

110. Considering that schools and other centers of learning play a critical role in shaping future generations, we recognise that current efforts in schools and other centers of learning to combat racism, including challenging racist and sexist language, pejorative images are woefully inadequate.

111. We also note with concern the lack of school curricula that meets international standards, recognizing the value of having a school curricula that is devoid of discriminatory content and that teaches the principles of equality, dignity, human rights and fundamental freedoms, adopting a holistic approach that includes a balance between a science and technology-based approach and an indigenous knowledge and philosophy based approach.

112. We recognize the historical, financial and other institutional barriers faced by Africans, Indigenous Peoples, Asians and their descendants and members of other minority and marginalized communities when they seek to access institutions of higher learning and particularly women and girls of disadvantaged and vulnerable communities.

Programme of Action

Education as a means of redress should be viewed from the broad perspective of encompassing as a comprehensive strategy:

· Formal Education;

· Non Formal education

· Adult Education;

· Awareness Campaigns;

· Information dissemination (access to information);

· Education for the transformation of Public Sector Officials; and

· The Media and information technology.


288. Implement the U.N. Decade for Human Rights Education 1995-2004, and support its continuation for a further Decade with increased human and financial resources.

289. Ensure equal access to education at all levels, including higher education, without discrimination on any ground, for all persons irrespective of their legal status and abolish policies and practices promoting or leading to racial segregation in education.

290. Include human rights education and human values as a dimension in the national curricula for primary and secondary schools aiming for all pupils to have an awareness and understanding of their rights and responsibilities. Include in national curricula for primary and secondary school a human rights education with an emphasis on universal values aimed at ensuring that learners have an awareness their rights and responsibilities under domestic constitutions, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international human rights instruments.

291. Review the education curriculum with the purpose of eliminating any elements that might promote racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance or reinforce negative stereotypes. Efforts must also be made for the systematic collection of data, for planning and evaluation, on educational quality and achievement. Further, we encourage a holistic approach that includes a balance between a science and technology based approach and an indigenous knowledge and philosophy based approach.

292. Ensure that education syllabi incorporate an accurate history of the struggle of the people against colonialism, genocide, slavery, apartheid, imperialism and patriarchal ideologies and caste-based practices which have entrenched racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. In addition, ensure that education curricula highlight the vital contributions of different cultures and groups, such as Africans and African descendants, Indigenous peoples, migrants and other ethnic, racial, cultural, religious and linguistic groups have played in building national identities.

293. Review and develop the educational system to allow for learning and instruction to be pursued in mother-tongue language(s), and to ensure that access to education is not denied to vulnerable groups on the basis of linguistic ability and criteria. In addition, to provide affirmative educational support from marginalized groups, through such measures as extra-tutorial, pre-school education, stipends for books and supplies, scholarships for vocational professional and higher education and employment guidance and assistance.

294. Educational policies be pursued that includes cultural, racial and sexual diversity and that recovers the historical contribution of women in the development of their peoples, communities and nations.

295. To provide to all peoples and cultures in educational centres, access to technology in equal conditions, especially in areas that have no access to higher education, for an equitable and sustainable development and the eradication of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

296. Take measures to increase the recruitment and promotion of members of minority groups as teachers, trainers and care providers and guarantee effective equality of access to the teaching profession. Additionally, ensure that pupils, parents and teachers are given information and training on Human Rights and are trained to deal with racist incidents in schools with a full awareness of the remedies that are available.

297. Encourage businesses and multi-national corporations to promote understanding and acceptance within their workplace through educational programs on the values of cultural diversity, cross-cultural communication and non-discrimination, as well as skills development for disadvantaged groups.

298. Promote adult education for the public at large, addressing the question of functional illiteracy in minority languages.

299. Efforts must be made for the systematic collection of data for planning and evaluation, disaggregated by race on educational quality and achievement.

300. Comply and take action on the commitment of States to the Dakar and Jomtien Declaration.


States and governments should:

301. Commit themselves to undertaking public information to alert their societies to the dangers of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance, and to support initiatives of non-governmental organisations in this respect.

302. Set up or facilitate the provision of free access to sources of information on the rights and remedies of victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, including all forms of religious intolerance.

303. Organise and support networks of information in the combat against racism and related intolerance at local, national and regional level, and facilitate the key role of NGO's in combating racism and related intolerance, acknowledging their significant role in disseminating information and establishing networks among target groups.

304. Establish and resource an independent body or bodies, which is tasked to:

· Study the historical and emerging causes of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance; its effects and suitable remedies;

· Focus on combating all ideologies, policies and practices which lead to or incite racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;

· Undertake and facilitate awareness raising campaigns informing all levels of society about racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;

· Integrate, co-operate, encourage and support civil society bodies and NGO's in their work in the eradication of racism, racial discrimination and related intolerance.


States and governments should:

305. Conduct nationwide campaigns to raise awareness among State organs, such as the judiciary, and law enforcement agencies, public officials, including legislators, as well as civil society organisations, including associations involved with migrants and other vulnerable groups, concerning the provisions of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

306. Train police and immigration officials in the application of international human rights standards and that the successful completion of such training programmes be made one of the criteria for promotion.

307. Implement training programmes on the dangers of racism and intolerance, including sexist prejudices, disability discrimination stereotyping and multiple discrimination and promote respect for cultural diversity by officials in all spheres of public life, in particular the police and the military, the judiciary and other agents of the administration of justice, teachers and other educationalists, and officials working in the sphere of health and social welfare.

308. Develop specific measures for agents of the criminal justice system, in particular the police and other law enforcement officers, for their interactions with target groups and minorities.

309. Governments and states should promote research addressing the roots and manifestations of all forms of contemporary racism, including those not rooted in slavery, and to introduce educational programmes for both civil servants and the general public based on the principle of priority of human rights and multiculturalism.

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Always Under Construction!
Copyright @ 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001. Vernellia R. Randall
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Thanks to Derrick Bell and his pioneer work: 
Race, Racism and American Law