In this Convention, the term "racial discrimination" shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.
The actions included in this article which constitute violations are even more exhaustive than those included in the CEDAW definition, because this article also refers to 'preferences'. This definition is significant in that includes descent and therefore covers systems such as the caste system in India. Discrimination on the basis of nationality is not covered (Article 1(2)), but any distinction based on citizenship should be closely examined to determine whether it is, in practice, based on race. Indirect discrimination is covered since laws that have a discriminatory impact on the enjoyment of human rights are covered by the definition. However, the Committee has noted that a distinction, although based on race, will not be racially discriminatory if it is ‘legitimate’ or ‘justifiable’.
Affirmative actions (of limited duration) that are intended to ensure that certain racial or ethnic groups may attain equal enjoyment of human rights are expressly permitted. (Article 1(4))
States Parties condemn racial discrimination and undertake to pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a policy of eliminating racial discrimination in all its forms and promoting understanding among all races, and, to this end:
(a) Each State Party undertakes to engage in no act or practice of racial discrimination against persons, groups of persons or institutions and to en sure that all public authorities and public institutions, national and local, shall act in conformity with this obligation;
(c) Each State Party shall take effective measures to review governmental, national and local policies, and to amend, rescind or nullify any laws and regulations which have the effect of creating or perpetuating racial discrimination wherever it exists;
(d) Each State Party shall prohibit and bring to an end, by all appropriate means, including legislation as required by circumstances, racial discrimination by any persons, group or organization;
Especially note the obligation in part (c) for States to amend, rescind or nullify laws and regulations that perpetuate racial discrimination – i.e. even if the current government was not the instigator of the discrimination, they are required to end it.
Article 5(e, v)
In compliance with the fundamental obligations laid down in article 2 of this Convention, States Parties undertake to prohibit and to eliminate racial discrimination in all its forms and to guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, colour, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law, notably in the enjoyment of the following rights: …. Economic, social and cultural rights, in particular: ……The right to education and training;
This article expressly states how the terms of this treaty are to apply to the right to education amongst other economic, social and cultural rights.