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In the International convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination celebrated by the United Nations in 1963, racial discrimination is described as: 

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

According to the 2000/43 European Union Directive on the principle of equal treatments between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin, a distinction can be made between:

Direct discrimination

occurs when a person is treated less favourably than another in similar circumstances, for ethnic and cultural reasons.

Indirect discrimination

occurs when a disposition, criterion or practice that is posed and applied in a neutral manner for all people, puts an ethnic group at a disadvantage due to its special situation or characteristics.

Harassment is also considered as a form of discrimination as its objective or effect is to undermine a person’s dignity on ethnic grounds and to create a humiliating and offensive environment.  Incitement to discrimination, segregation and retaliation against the persons who denounce discriminatory practices are other examples of discriminatory behavior. 

Web of the United Nations

International convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination