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     Background Release Press Release No: UNIS/HR/160
    Release Date: 28 July 2000
     Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination to Meet
    At Palais Des Nations from 31 July to 25 August

    (Reissued as received.)
     
     

    GENEVA, 25 July (UN Information Service) -- The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination will meet at the Palais des Nations from 31 July to 25 August to review anti-discrimination efforts undertaken by the Governments of the Czech Republic, Finland, Ghana, the Holy See, Iceland, Mauritius, Nepal, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Slovakia, Slovenia, the United Kingdom and Uzbekistan.

    These countries are among 156 States parties to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, a treaty that first took effect in 1969.  The 18-member Committee, the first body created by the United Nations to review actions by States to fulfil obligations under a specific human-rights agreement, examines reports submitted periodically by States parties on efforts to comply with the Convention.  Government representatives generally present the report, discuss its contents with Committee members, and answer questions.

    At this fifty seventh session of the Committee, the Committee will undertake a thematic discussion on the question of discrimination against Roma on Tuesday, 15 August, and Wednesday, 16 August.  

    The Committee will also continue its consideration of "prevention of racial discrimination, including early warning measures and urgent action procedures".  Here the Committee may decide to take steps to prevent existing problems from escalating into conflicts or may decide to initiate urgent action aimed at responding to problems requiring immediate attention to prevent or limit the scale or number of serious violations of the Convention.  The Committee may schedule a review of the situations in some countries at short notice.

    In addition, the Committee will study, in closed session, communications from individuals claiming to be victims of racial discrimination.  Only complaints against the 30 States parties that have recognized the competence of the Committee under article 14 of the Convention are admissible.
    Other agenda items relate to consideration of the Committee's annual report; discussion of the effective implementation of international instruments on human rights; and review of the progress of the Third Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination and preparations for the upcoming World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.

    Submission of Reports

    Under article 9 of the Convention, States undertake to report to the Committee on legal, judicial and other measures they have adopted to ensure effective protection against racial discrimination within their jurisdiction.  States parties to the Convention agree to condemn and seek to eliminate racial discrimination in their territories; to review their policies in order to amend or nullify any regulations which create or perpetuate such discrimination, based on racial superiority or hatred; and to prohibit organizations and activities which promote or incite racial discrimination.  They also agree to provide remedies for victims of racial discrimination and to adopt measures to combat prejudice and promote understanding among different national, racial and ethnic groups.

    In addition, States parties undertake to guarantee the right of everyone to equality before the law without distinction to race, colour, or national and ethnic origin.

    In the past, the Committee has called upon the Secretary-General to bring to the attention of States parties, at their annual meeting, the unfortunate consequences of delays in the submission of reports and to encourage them to consider ways and means by which all parties might be brought to fulfil their reporting obligations.  The Committee has also instituted a procedure to review the implementation of the Convention in those States parties responsible for the longest delays in submitting periodic reports.  In a letter addressed to the Governments of those States, the Committee said that delays in the submission of reports hampered its efforts to monitor the implementation of the Convention.

    States Parties to Convention

    At present, the following 156 States are parties to the Convention:  Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Holy See, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgystan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania.

    Also, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tajikistan, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), Zambia and Zimbabwe.

    Communications under Article 14

    Under article 14 of the Convention, the Committee considers communications from individuals or groups of individuals claiming to be victims of a violation by States parties of any of the rights set forth in the Convention, provided the States concerned have recognized the competence of the Committee in this regard.  The following 30 States parties have already done so:  Algeria, Australia, Bulgaria, Chile, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Senegal, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine and Uruguay.

    Committee Membership and Officers

    The members of the Committee, elected in their individual capacity, are:  Mahmoud Aboul-Nasr (Egypt); Michael Parker Banton (United Kingdom); Marc Bossuyt (Belgium); Ion Diaconu (Romania); Francois Lons‚ny Fall (Guinea); R‚gis de Gouttes (France);  Carlos Lechuga Hevia (Cuba); Yuri A. Rechetov (Russian Federation); Raghavan Vasudevan Pillai (India); Agha Shahi (Pakistan); Michael E. Sherifis (Cyprus); Deci Zou (China); Luis Valencia Rodriguez (Ecuador);  Mario Jorge Yutzis (Argentina); Peter Nobel (Sweden); Patricia Nozipho January-Bardill (South Africa); and Gay McDougall (the United States).

    Mr. Sherifis is the Chairperson.  The Vice Chairpersons are Mr. Rechetov, Mr. Valencia Rodriguez, and Mr. Fall.  Mr. Banton is the Rapporteur of the Committee.  

    Tentative timetable for consideration of reports, comments and further information submitted by States parties

    Monday, 31 July 2000
     Mauritius
     Thirteenth and fourteenth periodic reports (CERD/C/362/Add.2) 

    Tuesday, 1 August 2000
     Mauritius
     Finland
     (continued)
     Fifteenth periodic report 

    Wednesday, 2 August 2000
     Finland
     Slovenia
     (continued)
     Initial to fourth periodic reports (CERD/C/352/Add.1)

    Thursday, 3 August 2000
     Slovenia
     Slovakia 
     (continued) 
     Initial to third periodic reports (CERD/C/328/Add.1)

    Friday, 4 August 2000
     Slovakia
     (continued)

    Monday, 7 August 2000
     Czech Republic
     Third and fourth periodic reports (CERD/C/372/Add.1)

    Tuesday, 8 August 2000
     Ghana

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