Press Releases

    Background Release

    RD/973
    5 August 2002

    COMMITTEE ON ELIMINATION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
    TO MEET AT PALAIS DES NATIONS, 5 - 23 AUGUST

    Committee to Consider Reports of Canada, Senegal, Armenia, Uganda, Yemen,
    Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, Hungary, Estonia, Botswana, Mali


    GENEVA, 1 August (UN Information Service) -- The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discriminat- ion will meet at the Palais des Nations from 5 to 23 August to review anti-discrimination efforts under- taken by the Governments of Canada, Senegal, Armenia, Uganda, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, Hungary, Estonia, Botswana and Mali.

    These countries are among the 162 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 sixty-first session of the Committee, its members will also look into the state of affairs in Fiji, Côte d'Ivoire, Tajikistan, Madagascar and Ecuador under its review procedure. All of these States parties, except for Tajikistan, have previously submitted reports to the Committee, but their periodic reports are seriously overdue.

    Also this session, the Committee will undertake a thematic discussion on the concept of descent, to take place on 8 and 9 August. On 8 August, the Committee will devote its afternoon session to a hearing of national and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that will provide it with information on discrimination on the ground of descent. It will also continue its consideration of the prevention of racial discrimination, including through 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 situation 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 41 States parties that have recognized the competence of the Committee under article 14 of the Convention are admissible.

    Other agenda items relate to a general debate on subjects of interest to the Committee, including on issues concerning the Committee's methods of work; 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.

    Timetable for Consideration of Reports, Comments and Further Information
    Submitted by States Parties

    Monday, 5 August

    p.m.

    Canada

    Thirteenth and fourteenth periodic reports (CERD/C/320/Add.5)

    Tuesday, 6 August

    a.m.

    Canada

    (continued)

    p.m.

    Senegal

    Eleventh to fifteenth periodic reports (CERD/C/408/Add.2)

    Wednesday, 7 August

    a.m.

    Senegal

    (continued)

    Fiji*

    p.m.

    Armenia

    Third and fourth periodic reports (CERD/C/372/Add.3)

    Thursday, 8 August

    a.m.

    Armenia

    (continued)

    p.m.

    Côte d'Ivoire*

    Thematic discussion on discrimination on the ground of descent

    Friday, 9 August

    a.m.

    Thematic discussion on discrimination on the ground of descent (continued)

    p.m.

    Uganda

    Second to tenth periodic reports (CERD/C/358/Add.1)

    Monday, 12 August

    a.m.

    Uganda

    (continued)

    Tajikistan*

    p.m.

    Yemen

    Eleventh to fourteenth periodic reports (CERD/C/362/Add.8)

    Tuesday, 13 August

    a.m.

    Yemen

    (continued)

    p.m.

    Saudi Arabia

    Initial and second periodic reports (CERD/C/370Add.1)

    Wednesday, 14 August

    a.m.

    Saudi Arabia

    (continued)

    p.m.

    New Zealand

    Twelfth to fourteenth periodic reports (CERD/C/362/Add.1)

    Thursday, 15 August

    a.m.

    New Zealand

    (continued)

    p.m.

    Hungary

    Fourteenth to seventeenth periodic reports (CERD/C/431/Add.1)

    Friday, 16 August

    a.m.

    Hungary

    (continued)

    p.m.

    Estonia

    Fifth periodic report (CERD/C/373/Add.2)

    Monday, 19 August

    a.m.

    Estonia

    (continued)

    p.m.

    Botswana

    Sixth to fourteenth periodic reports (CERD/C/407/Add.1)

    Madagascar*

    Tuesday, 20 August

    a.m.

    Botswana

    (continued)

    p.m.

    Mali

    Seventh to fourteenth periodic reports (CERD/C/407/Add.2)

    Wednesday, 21 August

    a.m.

    Mali

    (continued)

    Ecuador*

    * Review procedure (for States parties whose reports are seriously overdue)

    The twelfth periodic report of Canada was considered in August 1994, and the Committee's conclusions and recommendations on it can be found in document A/49/18, paras. 298-331. The ninth and tenth reports of Senegal were examined in August 1994 and the Committee's conclusions and recommend- ations on them can be found in document A/49/18, paras.332-361. The second periodic report of Armenia was considered in March 1998 and the Committee's recommendations on it can be found in document CERD/C/304/Add.51. The initial report of Uganda was examined in 1984 and the Committee's recommendations can be found in document A/39/18, paras. 378-386. The ninth and tenth periodic reports of Yemen were considered in August 1992 and the Committee's recommendations on them can be found in document CERD/C/209/Add. 2. The tenth and eleventh periodic reports of New Zealand were considered in September 1995 and the concluding observations on them can be found in document CERD/C/239/Add.3. The eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth periodic reports of Hungary were examined in March 1996 and the Committee's conclusions on them can be found in document CERD/C/304/Add.4. The fourth periodic report of Estonia was examined in March 2000 and the recommendations can be found in document CERD/C/304/98. The fifth periodic report of Botswana was reviewed by the Committee in August 1996 and final observations can be found in document A/51/18, paras. 449-451. The sixth periodic report of Mali was considered in September 1994 and the concluding observations can be found in document A/49/18, paras. 275-283.

    Concerning the situation in the countries which will be considered under the review procedure, the conclusions on the last report presented by Fiji can be found in document A/38/18, paras. 337-347. The conclusions on the last report presented by Côte d'Ivoire can be found in A/51/18, paras. 262-264. The conclusions on the last report of Madagascar can be found in document CERD/C/304/Add.6. And the conclusions on the last report presented by Ecuador can be found in document A/48/18, paras. 143-146. Tajikistan has never presented a report.

    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 discriminat- ion 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 report- ing 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 162 States are parties to the Convention: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Holy See, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania.

    Also, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, 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, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, San Marino, Saint Lucia, Saint 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 41 States parties have already done so: Algeria, Austria, Australia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Ukraine, Uruguay and Yugoslavia.

    Committee Membership, Officers

    The members of the Committee, elected in their individual capacity, are: Mahmoud Aboul-Nasr (Egypt); Nourredine Amir (Algeria); Marc Bossuyt (Belgium); Ion Diaconu (Romania); François Lonseny Fall (Guinea); Regis de Gouttes (France); Kurt Herndl (Austria); Patricia Nozipho January-Bardill (South Africa); Morten Kjaerum (Denmark); Jose Augusto Lindgren Alves (Brazil); Raghavan Vasudevan Pillai (India); Yuri A. Rechetov (Russian Federation); Agha Shahi (Pakistan); Linos Alexander Sicilianos (Greece); Patrick Thornberry (United Kingdom); Luis Valencia Rodriguez (Ecuador); Tang Chengyuan (China); and Mario Jorge Yutzis (Argentina).

    Mr. Diaconu is Chairperson of the Committee; Mr. Amir, Mr. Yutzis and Mr. Pillai are Vice-Chairpersons; and Mr. Thornberry is Rapporteur.

    * *** *