Racism, xenophobia and discrimination are historically recognized phenomena of human behaviour. They are of an almost universal nature and have emerged in widely diverse places ranging from Asia to Africa and from Europe to the Americas, and at many times throughout recorded history. All national policies designed to abolish racial discrimination are to a high degree influenced by or even based upon instruments and policies adopted at the international level. The most general approach concerning the abolition of racial discrimination has been taken by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The Convention is designed to abolish racial discrimination in all fields of public life. The meaning of this reference was discussed controversially in the Committee.