Press Releases

    RD/992
    22 August 2005

    Round-up of Session

    Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination Concludes Sixty-Seventh Session

    Issues Concluding Observations on Reports Presented by Venezuela, Georgia, Zambia, Barbados, Tanzania, Iceland, Turkmenistan, Nigeria

    (Reissued as received.)

    GENEVA, 19 August (UN Information Service) -- The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination today concluded its sixty-seventh session and issued its concluding observations on reports presented by Venezuela, Georgia, Zambia, Barbados, Tanzania, Iceland, Turkmenistan and Nigeria, on how those countries implement the provisions of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Under its review procedure, the Committee also examined the situation of Malawi, Seychelles, Saint Lucia and Mozambique.  It also issued decisions on the situation in Suriname, and on the follow-up procedure to the Declaration on the Prevention of Genocide. The Committee also adopted, at the last meeting, its annual report to the General Assembly.

    Regarding the report submitted by Venezuela, the Committee welcomed the rights and principles included in the Constitution of 1999, in particular the preamble, which establishes the multi-ethnic and pluri-cultural character of Venezuelan society.  It reiterated its preoccupation regarding the persistence of important structural socio-economic inequalities which were reflected in the enjoyment of human rights, in particular economic, social and cultural rights, and which in particular affected persons of African descent and indigenous peoples. The Committee asked Venezuela to take effective and urgent measures to put an end to the problem of violence which affected principally indigenous peoples and persons of African descent. 

    On the report by Georgia, the Committee noted with satisfaction that the State party was continuing to make important progress in the area of legislative reform and that some of its previous recommendations were taken into consideration during this process. The Committee was concerned about the extreme poverty in which part of the population of the State party lives and its effects on the most vulnerable minority groups for the enjoyment of their human rights, and encouraged the State party to adopt specific legislation to protect minorities. The Committee recommended that the State party include detailed information in its next periodic report on the situation of all minority groups, including the most vulnerable ones, and in particular the Roma. 

    With respect to Zambia, the Committee noted with satisfaction the State party's generous approach in hosting and providing protection to more than 271,000 refugees over many years, and welcomed the State party's efforts to enhance the access of refugees to the courts.  The Committee reiterated its concern that the Constitution was not in compliance with the Convention, and while taking note that first steps have been undertaken by the Government to incorporate the Convention into domestic law, reiterated its concern that this has not been fully achieved. The Committee recommended to the State party that it facilitate the constitutional review process and amend the Constitution so as to ensure the full implementation of the prohibition of racial discrimination. 

    On the topic of the situation in Barbados, the Committee welcomed the draft National Plan on Justice, Peace and Security as an important step in providing victims of violent crime with the right to claim compensation.  The Committee was concerned about the lack of a legal definition of racial discrimination in its domestic legislation, and over the lack of social movements that promote integrationist multiracial values in the State party, as well as for the "invisible crypto-racism" mentioned in the report.  The Committee recommended that the State party continue taking into account the relevant parts of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action when implementing the Convention in the domestic legal order.

    Regarding Tanzania, the Committee acknowledged with appreciation that, despite a decline in the number of refugees, Tanzania continued to host more than 600.000 refugees, the largest number in Africa.  The Committee also noted with concern the lack of information on certain vulnerable ethnic groups, on the difficulties they allegedly faced due to their specific way of life and on special measures taken to guarantee their enjoyment of human rights, and was concerned about allegations of arbitrary arrests and detention, excessive use of force and ill-treatment of refugees.  The Committee recommended that the State party take the necessary measures to establish mechanisms to improve the capacity and efficiency of the judicial system, so as to ensure access to justice to all without discrimination and to establish mechanisms to provide legal aid to all members of vulnerable groups. 

    On Iceland's report, the Committee noted with satisfaction that recent legislative changes enhanced the legal status of foreign nationals.  It also noted that the Convention had not been incorporated into the State party's domestic legal order, and, while recognizing that there were no serious social conflicts within Icelandic society, nevertheless considered that the State party should adopt a more pro-active approach in preventing racial discrimination or related intolerance.  The Committee recalled that the notion of prevention is inherent in many provisions of the Convention and encouraged the State party to take direct measures to prevent racial discrimination in all spheres of life and, to that effect, consider the possibility of adopting comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation.

    With respect to Turkmenistan, the Committee appreciated the passing of a regulation in March 2005, on the implementation of refugee status determination, as well as the generous hosting of more than 10 000 refugees from Tajikistan on a prima facie basis.  The Committee was deeply concerned about reported instances of hate speech against national and ethnic minorities, and was further concerned that such speech is inconsistent with the fundamental principle of racial and ethnic equality underlying the Convention.  The Committee urged the State party to abide by its obligation under the Convention not to permit public authorities or public institutions, national or local, to promote or incite racial discrimination.  It urged the State party to respect and protect the existence and cultural identity of all national and ethnic minorities within its territory, and wished to receive detailed information on the measures adopted to that end.  

    On Nigeria, the Committee welcomed the creation of the National Revenue Allocation System, which aims to improve the fair distribution of resources across different States, and the establishment of Human Rights Desks in police stations to deal with complaints relating to human rights violations committed by members of the police force.  The Committee was seriously concerned that despite attempts to foster national unity, prejudices and feelings of hostility among some ethnic groups persist in Nigeria, including active discrimination by people who consider themselves as the original inhabitants to their region against settlers from other States, and recommended that the State Party carefully monitor the negative impact of its efforts to promote national unity through regional and state engineering and in particular, the effects on inter- and intra- ethno-religious relations.

    Further, the Committee transmitted a letter to the Government of Malawi, in which the Committee deeply regretted that Malawi was seriously overdue in the submission of its initial to fifth periodic reports, and had decided to send a list of questions to which it would appreciate a response, in the absence of which it would adopt concluding observations on Malawi under its review procedure.  A letter to the Government of Mozambique was also sent, in which the Committee took note of the "note verbale" sent to the Committee indicating that the overdue report had been prepared, and stating the Committee's decision to postpone the examination of the situation and to wait for the submission of the report until 31 December 2005.  A third letter was also sent to the Government of the Seychelles in order to initiate a dialogue on the measures adopted by that Government to implement the Government, with an attached list of questions to which the Committee hoped to receive a response, in the absence of which it would adopt concluding observations on Seychelles under the review procedure.  A letter to the Government of Saint Lucia was also transmitted, in which the Committee deeply regretted that Saint Lucia was seriously overdue in the submission of its initial to seventh periodic reports, and attached a list of questions to which it hoped for a response. 

    A letter to the Ukraine was also transmitted, informing the Government that it had considered on a preliminary basis a request asking the Committee to act under its early warning and urgent action procedure on the situation of the Crimean Tatar Indigenous People in Crimea, and reiterating the wish of the Committee to pursue the constructive dialogue with Ukraine in this regard as well as with regard to the now overdue seventeenth and eighteenth periodic reports.  A final letter to the Government of the United States of America was transmitted, informing that Government that it had considered on a preliminary basis the requests submitted by the Western Shoshone National Council, and by the Western people of the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe, Winnemucca Indian Colony and Yomba Shoshone Tribe, asking the Committee to act under its early warning and urgent action procedure on the situation of the Western Shoshone indigenous people in the United States of America. 

    In a decision on Suriname, the Committee expressed deep concern about information alleging that Suriname was authorising additional resource exploitation and associated infrastructure projects that posed substantial threats of irreparable harm to indigenous and tribal peoples, without formal notification to the affected communities, and without seeking their prior agreement or informed consent.  The Committee urged the State party to:  ensure legal acknowledgement of the rights of indigenous and tribal peoples to possess, develop, control and use their communal lands and to participate in the exploitation, management and conservation of the associated natural resources; and to ensure that indigenous and tribal peoples are granted the right of appeal to the courts, or any independent body specially created for that purpose, in order to uphold their traditional rights and their right to be consulted before concessions are granted and to be fairly compensated for any damage.  The Committee also recommended that a framework law on the rights of indigenous and tribal peoples be elaborated. 

    The Decision on the follow-up procedure to the Declaration on the Prevention of Genocide intends to strengthen the capacity of the Committee to detect and prevent at the earliest possible stage developments in racial discrimination that could lead to violent conflict and genocide.  It contains a list of key indicators, aimed at serving as a tool for the Committee when examining the situation in a State party under one of its procedures to assess the existence of factors known to be important components of situations leading to conflict and genocide; and the follow-up and early warning and urgent action procedures that should be followed when receiving information in between sessions of the Committee about grave incidents of racial discrimination covered by one or more of these indicators. 

    The Committee's sixty-eighth session will be held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva from 20 February to 10 March 2006, when the Experts will review the reports of Botswana, Uzbekistan, Guatemala, El Salvador, Estonia, Mexico, Guyana, South Africa, and Lithuania.

    Concluding Observations on Country Reports

    Venezuela

    Having examined the fourteenth to eighteenth periodic reports of Venezuela, the Committee welcomed the rights and principles included in the Constitution of 1999, in particular the preamble, which establishes the multi-ethnic and pluri-cultural character of Venezuelan society.  It took note of the creation of specialised institutions, in particular a Presidential Committee with the purpose of combating racial discrimination.  The Committee also noted with interest the existence of a special jurisdiction charged with solving conflicts based on the customs of indigenous peoples.  It also took note of the Presidential Decree with regards to the protection of the languages of indigenous peoples and that indigenous persons could use their language in dealing with the public authorities. 

    The Committee noted with concern that there was no statistical data available regarding persons of African descent.  It reiterated its preoccupation regarding the persistence of important structural socio-economic inequalities which were reflected in the enjoyment of human rights, in particular economic, social and cultural rights, and which in particular affected persons of African descent and indigenous peoples.  The Committee also noted with deep concern that between 1995 and 2003, 61 people, mainly indigenous or of African descent, had been murdered by armed groups in the context of conflicts linked to land, and that this problem had got worse since 2001. 

    The Committee asked Venezuela to ensure that the identity cards given to indigenous peoples in conformity with the law were based on self-identification of the persons concerned.  The Committee asked Venezuela to take effective and urgent measures to put an end to the problem of violence which affected principally indigenous peoples and persons of African descent.  With regards to the situation of the indigenous peoples of the High Orinoco, the Casquiare basis and the Guanía-Río Negro, who were encountering problems of different types in particular with regards to the illegal centres of gold mining, the Committee urged Venezuela to take urgent measures to remedy the situation.

    Georgia

    After considering the eight to sixteenth reports of Georgia, the Committee noted with satisfaction that the State party was continuing to make important progress in the area of legislative reform and that some of its previous recommendations were taken into consideration during this process.  The Committee also noted with satisfaction that the State party has made the declaration under article 14 of the Convention recognizing the competence of the Committee to receive and consider communications and expects that the public at large will be appropriately informed of this fact, and expressed its satisfaction at recent measures taken by the State party to strengthen the participation of ethnic minorities in its political institutions.

    While noting the adoption of a detailed "plan of action to strengthen protection of the rights and freedoms of various population groups of Georgia for the period 2003-2005", the Committee regretted that the draft legislation to protect minorities has not yet been adopted.  While welcoming the information provided on the situation on several minorities of the State party, the Committee regretted the lack of detailed information on the situation of some vulnerable minority groups, in particular the Roma, and their enjoyment of all human rights.  The Committee noted the absence of legislation regarding the status of languages, the lack of sufficient knowledge of the Georgian language by minority groups and of effective measures to remedy this situation as well as to increase the use of ethnic minority languages in the public administration.  The Committee was concerned about the extreme poverty in which part of the population of the State party lives and its effects on the most vulnerable minority groups for the enjoyment of their human rights and regretted that the State party's programme to reduce poverty and stimulate economic growth has not yet been adopted, as well as by allegations of arbitrary arrests and detention, excessive use of force by law enforcement officials, and ill-treatment in police custody of members of minority groups and non-citizens, and about the lack of investigation of those cases. 

    The Committee recommended that the State party provide detailed information on the implementation and results of the "plan of action to strengthen protection of the rights and freedoms of various population groups of Georgia for the period 2003-2005" and encouraged the State party to adopt specific legislation to protect minorities.  The Committee recommended that the State party include detailed information in its next periodic report on the situation of all minority groups, including the most vulnerable ones and in particular the Roma.  The Committee recommended that the State party adopt legislation on the status of languages as well as effective measures to improve the knowledge of the Georgian language amongst minority groups and to increase the use of ethnic minority languages in the public administration.  The Committee recommended that the State party provide detailed information on the situation of refugees and asylum-seekers, on the legal protection provided to them, and include information in its next periodic report on its economic situation, in particular regarding minorities, and adopt all the necessary measures to reduce poverty, especially regarding the most vulnerable minority groups, and stimulate economic growth, including the adoption of a national plan to this effect.

    Zambia

    Having considered the twelfth to sixteenth periodic reports of Zambia, the Committee noted with appreciation the establishment of several national institutions, in particular the Zambian Human Rights Commission and the Police Public Complaints Authority.  The Committee particularly welcomed the fact that the delegation agreed to the participation of the Zambian Human Rights Commission in the dialogue with the Committee, which further demonstrates the State party's readiness to enter into a frank and constructive dialogue with the Committee. The Committee noted with satisfaction the State party's generous approach in hosting and providing protection to more than 271,000 refugees over many years.  The Committee welcomed the State party's efforts to enhance the access of refugees to the courts and in particular the establishment of mobile special courts and special police units to serve in refugee camps and settlements.

    The Committee reiterated its concern that the Constitution, which allows for extended restrictions to the prohibition of discrimination with respect to non-citizens, matters of personal law and of customary law, was not in compliance with the Convention.  The Committee, while taking note of the delegation's statement that first steps have been undertaken by the Government to incorporate the Convention into domestic law, reiterated its concern that this has not been fully achieved.  It further regretted the lack of precise information regarding legislation prohibiting racial discrimination in the enjoyment of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, and its implementation in practice.  The Committee noted with concern that de facto racial discrimination by non-state actors poses daily challenges to the State party.  While welcoming the efforts pursued by the State party in the field of human rights education, the Committee remains concerned that most people living in Zambia are not aware of their rights and thus find it difficult to seek redress if their rights are violated.

    The Committee recommended to the State party that it facilitate the constitutional review process and amend the Constitution so as to ensure the full implementation of the prohibition of racial discrimination.  It also stressed that respect for customary law and practices should not be ensured through a general exception to the principle of non-discrimination, but should rather be implemented through positive recognition of cultural rights.  The Committee invited the State party to proceed with the incorporation of the provisions of the Convention into domestic law, and requested that detailed information on actual plans to this end be provided.  The Committee recommended to the State party that it guarantee the right of everyone not to be discriminated against in the enjoyment of civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights, and that the State party recognize participation in organizations promoting and inciting racial discrimination as a punishable offence.  The Committee recommended that complaints of racial discrimination be fully dealt with, including when they are coupled with complaints of violation of other rights, such as labour rights.

    Barbados

    Having considered the eighth to sixteenth periodic reports of Barbados, the Committee noted with satisfaction the establishment of the Committee for National Reconciliation tasked with developing, coordinating and implementing a programme for the process of national reconciliation, and welcomed the draft National Plan on Justice, Peace and Security as an important step in providing victims of violent crime with the right to claim compensation, as well as the organization of several training programmes conducted at the Regional Police Training Department on the promotion and protection of human rights in the field of racial discrimination.  The Committee also noted with satisfaction the pilot education programme which has included African Heritage Studies, Citizenry, Family life and conversational foreign languages in several primary and secondary schools.  The Committee noted with satisfaction the country's high ranking in the UNDP Human Development Report.

    While welcoming the recommendation of the Constitutional Review Commission that gender be included in the Constitution as a ground for non-discrimination and the establishment of a Constitution Committee which has begun redrafting the Constitution, the Committee was concerned about the lack of a legal definition of racial discrimination in its domestic legislation, and over the lack of social movements that promote integrationist multiracial values in the State party. The Committee expressed concern at the "invisible crypto-racism" mentioned in the report which arises as a result of the separation of black and white communities and which is rooted in social relations at the interpersonal level.  The Committee was concerned at the absence of any complaints of racial discrimination before the High Court since 1994 and at the fact that no complaint was ever submitted before the Police Complaints Authority.

    The Committee recommended to the State party that it adopt a definition of racial discrimination that includes the elements contained in article 1 of the Convention, and that it consider the establishment of a national human rights institution, in accordance with the Principles relating to the status of national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights.  The Committee encouraged the State party to monitor all trends which can give rise to segregation, to work for the eradication of any negative consequences that ensue and to describe any such action in its next periodic report.  The Committee recommended that the State party consider whether the lack of formal complaints may be the result of the victims' lack of awareness of their rights, lack of confidence in the police and judicial authorities, or the authorities' lack of attention, sensitivity, or commitment to cases of racial discrimination, and requested further clarification of the situation regarding Amerindians in Barbados.  The Committee recommended that the State party continue taking into account the relevant parts of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action when implementing the Convention in the domestic legal order.

    United Republic of Tanzania

    Having considered the eighth to sixteenth periodic reports of Tanzania, the Committee acknowledged with appreciation that, despite a decline in the number of refugees, Tanzania continued to host more than 600,000 refugees, the largest number in Africa.  The Committee noted that Tanzania is a multi-ethnic State, with more than 120 ethnic and minority groups, and acknowledged its efforts to build a State where all groups live in harmony.  The Committee welcomed the establishment of a Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance with, inter alia, competence to conduct inquiries into complaints of human rights violations and to disseminate information on human rights.

    While noting that the Constitution prohibits racial discrimination, the Committee was concerned about the absence of specific legislation on racial discrimination in the State party. Bearing in mind that the State party has a dualist legal system, the Committee remained concerned about the fact that the Convention has not been incorporated in domestic law.  While welcoming the fact that female genital mutilation has been a criminal offence in the State party since 1998, the Committee was concerned that it is still a persistent practice in some ethnic communities.  The Committee also noted with concern the lack of information on certain vulnerable ethnic groups, on the difficulties they allegedly faced due to their specific way of life and on special measures taken to guarantee their enjoyment of human rights, and was concerned about allegations of arbitrary arrests and detention, excessive use of force and ill-treatment of refugees, in particular women, by law enforcement officials, and about the lack of investigation of those cases.

    The Committee recommended that the State party adopt specific legislation on racial discrimination implementing the provisions of the Convention, including a legal definition of racial discrimination, and strongly recommended that the State party envisage incorporating the Convention into its domestic legal order.  The Committee further recommended that the State party reinforce the measures adopted to eradicate female genital mutilation, and that the State party provide detailed information on the situation of nomadic and semi-nomadic ethnic groups and on any special measures taken with a view to ensure the enjoyment of their rights under the Convention, notably their freedom of movement and their right to participate in decisions which affect them.  The Committee recommended that the State party take the necessary measures to establish mechanisms to improve the capacity and efficiency of the judicial system, so as to ensure access to justice to all without discrimination and to establish mechanisms to provide legal aid to all members of vulnerable groups. 

    Iceland

    Having considered the seventeenth and eighteenth periodic reports of Iceland, the Committee noted with satisfaction that recent legislative changes enhanced the legal status of foreign nationals.  The Committee welcomed the current establishment of a "Committee for Refugees and Asylum-Seekers" and of an "Icelandic Immigration Council" to be composed of representatives from relevant Ministries and one immigrant representative and responsible for making recommendations on immigration policy to the Government and for coordinating the provision of services and information to immigrants, and the establishment in 2001 of an office of the Reykjavik police functioning as a link between the police and persons of foreign origin.

    The Committee noted that the Convention had not been incorporated into the State party's domestic legal order, and, while recognizing that there were no serious social conflicts within Icelandic society, nevertheless considered that the State party should adopt a more pro-active approach in preventing racial discrimination or related intolerance.  While noting that members of the border police receive training on international human rights standards and refugee law, the Committee was concerned about reports that asylum requests were not always properly handled by border guards. While noting that the issuance of temporary work permits to employers of foreign workers rather than to the employees themselves served to better oversee the situation on the labour market, and that copies of such permits indicating the expiry date are handed out to the employees, who may change jobs during the period covered by the permit, the Committee was concerned that this situation may lead to breaches of the labour rights of temporary foreign workers.

    The Committee encouraged the State party to consider incorporating the substantive provisions of the Convention into its domestic law, with a view to ensuring comprehensive protection against racial discrimination.  The Committee recalled that the notion of prevention is inherent in many provisions of the Convention and encouraged the State party to take direct measures to prevent racial discrimination in all spheres of life and, to that effect, consider the possibility of adopting comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation.  The Committee encourages the State party to intensify its efforts to provide systematic training to border guards, with a view to increasing their knowledge about all relevant aspects of refugee protection, as well as about the situation in the countries of origin of asylum seekers.  The Committee recalls the right for all individuals of access to public places without discrimination and recommends that the State party regulate the burden of proof in civil proceedings involving denial of access to public places based on race, colour, descent, and national or ethnic origin so that once an individual has established a prima facie case that he or she has been a victim of such denial, it shall be for the respondent to provide evidence of an objective and reasonable justification for the differential treatment. 

    Turkmenistan

    Having considered the initial to fifth periodic reports of Turkmenistan, the Committee noted with satisfaction that the State party had ratified most of the United Nations core human rights treaties since independence.  The Committee appreciated the passing of a regulation in March 2005, on the implementation of refugee status determination, as well as the generous hosting of more than 10 000 refugees from Tajikistan on a prima facie basis.  The Committee welcomed the rescinding amendment of 2 November 2004 of the Criminal Code, which stipulated criminal penalties for unregistered activities of public associations, including non-governmental organizations.

    The Committee noted that the proportion of national and ethnic minorities in Turkmenistan seemed to have significantly diminished between 1995 and 2005, but found it difficult to interpret these figures, which may have resulted, at the same time, from an assimilation policy conducted by the State party, the emigration of many members of minority groups, and the alleged distortion of statistics by the State party so as to diminish the importance of minorities on its territory.  The Committee noted that under article 6 of the Constitution, Turkmenistan recognized the primacy of generally recognized norms of international law, but was concerned that the status of the Convention in domestic law remained unclear.  It was also deeply concerned about reported instances of hate speech against national and ethnic minorities, and was further concerned that such speech is inconsistent with the fundamental principle of racial and ethnic equality underlying the Convention.  The Committee was deeply concerned by consistent information relating to the policy of "Turkmenization" conducted by the State party, and implemented through various measures in the field of employment, education and political life.

    The Committee recommended to the State party that it fully ensure the rule of law, and that it provide more detailed information on the status of the Convention in domestic law. The Committee urged the State party to abide by its obligation under the Convention not to permit public authorities or public institutions, national or local, to promote or incite racial discrimination.  It urged the State party to respect and protect the existence and cultural identity of all national and ethnic minorities within its territory, and wished to receive detailed information on the measures adopted to that end.  The Committee requested the State party not to forcibly displace populations and to re-examine its policy in this regard.  The Committee recommended that the State party fully respect the cultural rights of persons belonging to national and ethnic minorities.  The State party should respect the right of members of registered and unregistered religions to freely exercise their freedom of religion, and register religious groups who wish to be registered.  The Committee recommended to the State party that it inform victims of their rights, including remedies available to them, facilitate their access to justice, guarantee their right to just and adequate reparation, and publicize the relevant laws.

    Nigeria

    Having considered the fourteenth to eighteenth periodic reports of Nigeria, the Committee welcomed the establishment of the National Human Rights Commission of Nigeria, pursuant to the Human Rights Commission Act, adopted in 1995, as well as the adoption, in 2004, of the National Plan of Action on the promotion and protection of human rights, the establishment of the National Inter-religious Council (NAREC) and of the Institute for Peace and Conflict, aimed to promote inter-ethnic, inter-communal and inter-religious harmony.  It also welcomed the creation of the National Revenue Allocation System, which aims to improve the fair distribution of resources across different States, and the establishment of Human Rights Desks in police stations to deal with complaints relating to human rights violations committed by members of the police force.  The Committee notes with appreciation the provision of mobile schools for children of nomadic communities.

    The Committee was concerned about the absence of a legal definition of racial discrimination in Nigeria's domestic law.  The Committee regretted the paucity of information in the State party's report on the rights of non-citizens temporarily or permanently residing in Nigeria, including refugees, stateless persons, displaced persons and migrant workers, and noted that the guarantees against racial discrimination contained in the Constitution do not extend to non-citizens, and noted with concern that the main principles of the Convention have not been incorporated in domestic law, in order that it can be directly invoked in the Nigerian courts.  The Committee was seriously concerned that despite attempts to foster national unity, prejudices and feelings of hostility among some ethnic groups persist in Nigeria, including active discrimination by people who consider themselves as the original inhabitants to their region against settlers from other States.

    In the context of the current Constitutional review and the drafting of an Anti-Discrimination Bill by the Parliament, the Committee invited the State party to consider extending the scope of its domestic legislation so as to protect non-citizens from racial discrimination.  The Committee also invited the State party to take all necessary steps to incorporate the substantive provisions of the Convention in its domestic law, with a view to ensuring comprehensive protection against racial discrimination, and encouraged the State party to continue monitoring all initiatives and tendencies that may give rise to racist and xenophobic behaviour, and to combat the negative consequences of such tendencies.  The Committee recommended that the State party carefully monitor the negative impact of its efforts to promote national unity through regional and state engineering and in particular, the effects on inter- and intra- ethno-religious relations.

    Decision on Suriname

    After having reviewed the country situation in Suriname in private session, the Committee expressed deep concern about information alleging that Suriname was further actively disregarding the Committee's recommendations by authorising additional resource exploitation and associated infrastructure projects that posed substantial threats of irreparable harm to indigenous and tribal peoples, without formal notification to the affected communities, and without seeking their prior agreement or informed consent.  The Committee urged the State party to: ensure legal acknowledgement of the rights of indigenous and tribal peoples to possess, develop, control and use their communal lands and to participate in the exploitation, management and conservation of the associated natural resources; strive to reach agreements with the peoples concerned, as far as possible, before awarding any concessions; and to ensure that indigenous and tribal peoples are granted the right of appeal to the courts, or any independent body specially created for that purpose, in order to uphold their traditional rights and their right to be consulted before concessions are granted and to be fairly compensated for any damage.  The Committee also recommended that a framework law on the rights of indigenous and tribal peoples be elaborated and that the State party take advantage of the technical assistance available from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and that it extend an invitation to the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people. 

    Decision on Follow-up Procedure to Declaration on Prevention of Genocide; Indicators of systematic, massive patterns of racial discrimination

    On the last day of the session, the Committee also adopted a Decision on the follow-up procedure to the Declaration on the Prevention of Genocide, which was adopted at the previous session, in which Declaration the Committee committed itself to developing a special set of indicators related to genocide; and strengthening and refining its early warning and urgent action as well as follow-up procedures in all situations where indicators suggested the increased possibility of violent conflict and genocide.  Taking into account that systematic discrimination, disregard or exclusion were often among the root causes of conflict, the decision intends to strengthen the capacity of the Committee to detect and prevent at the earliest possible stage developments in racial discrimination that could lead to violent conflict and genocide.  It contains a list of key indicators, aimed at serving as a tool for the Committee when examining the situation in a State party under one of its procedures to assess the existence of factors known to be important components of situations leading to conflict and genocide; and the follow-up and early warning and urgent action procedures that should be followed when receiving information in between sessions of the Committee about grave incidents of racial discrimination covered by one or more of these indicators.

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