The International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR) is an international non-profit, non-governmental human rights organization devoted to eliminating discrimination and racism, forging international solidarity among discriminated minorities and advancing the international human rights system. Founded in 1988 by one of Japan’s largest minorities, the Buraku people, IMADR has grown to be a global network of concerned individuals and minority groups with regional committees and partners in Asia, Europe, North America and Latin America. IMADR’s International Secretariat is based in Japan and maintains a UN liaison office in Geneva. IMADR is in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
IMADR’s Core Values
To promote the capacity of discriminated groups to raise their voices and represent themselves in activities to combat discrimination.
To promote cooperation and solidarity among discriminated people in ways that rise above regional, national and gender differences.
To promote implementation of international human rights instruments through the voice and power of discriminated groups, and strengthen legal standards, institutions and organs for the elimination of discrimination and racism; to promote their effective use by the discriminated.
Areas of Action
IMADR’s primary focus is to combat racism, racial discrimination and multiple discrimination (in particular, discrimination based on both race and gender) as they cut across the following areas:
- Eliminating discrimination based on work and descent
- Upholding the rights of indigenous peoples
- Upholding the rights of minorities
- Eliminating racial discrimination in the administration of justice
- Strengthening international human rights protection mechanisms for the elimination of discrimination and racism, and promoting their effective use by the discriminated
Together with local partner organizations, IMADR develops grassroots movements around the world. IMADR also builds links between minority communities to enhance solidarity and enable them to share their experiences and support each other’s movements. The Buraku community (Japan) and Dalit community (India), both discriminated against on the basis on work and descent, work together by running day care centers for Dalit children.
IMADR builds awareness that discrimination and racism are not just problems for minorities, but for society as a whole. In collaboration with other organizations, IMADR holds and participates in local, regional and international events, including the World Social Forum. These bring together grassroots activists to address racism and racial discrimination, both in local contexts and within the broader social and historical context of colonialism, neo-liberal globalization and the “War on Terror.” IMADR has been instrumental in raising awareness of international instruments and mechanisms to combat discrimination (including the promotion of human rights education) by disseminating information and encouraging national and local groups to work together to use these instruments and mechanisms effectively.
IMADR carries out research to support international and national advocacy, including, for example, a survey of the multiple discrimination faced by women in minority communities. In cooperation with NGOs and academic institutions, IMADR sponsors joint research/action projects on trafficking in women and children and exploitative migration. IMADR occasionally sends missions to investigate discrimination and strengthen solidarity among minority groups (e.g. to Slovakia in June 2005 to investigate the situation of the Roma minority). IMADR also monitors relevant UN bodies through its office in Geneva.
sharing information and experiences
IMADR is constantly developing its network to promote information sharing, with the aim of connecting and strengthening worldwide movements toward the elimination of racism and racial discrimination. IMADR’s publications and website serve as basic networking tools.
IMADR is one of the few NGOs that place special emphasis on the implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), the only legally binding global instrument that comprehensively addresses racial discrimination. At the local level in Japan, IMADR is instrumental in campaigns calling for the effective use of ICERD and the establishment of anti-discrimination legislation and a national human rights institution. IMADR also campaigns for the elimination of racial discrimination in the administration of justice, through its support of the Sayama Case in Japan and on an international level.
IMADR lobbies at UN meetings and major world conferences, linking grassroots minority groups with UN human rights bodies and mechanisms. As one of the few international human rights NGOs based outside the North Atlantic region, IMADR is viewed as an important support vehicle for many local and regional organizations. Through its regional committees and local partners, IMADR also advocates for the rights of discriminated groups at the local level, including for example, the rights of Argentina’s migrant and indigenous communities, and Sri Lanka and India’s discriminated communities in the wake of the Indian Ocean Tsunami. In Sri Lanka, IMADR works with local grassroots groups to uphold the rights of the country’s ethnic and religious minorities in the peacebuilding process.