Côte d'Ivoire + 1 more

Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination to meet at Palais des Nations from 3 to 21 Mar 2003

Committee to Consider Reports of Côte d'Ivoire, Ecuador, Fiji, Ghana, Morocco, Poland, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Tunisia and Uganda

GENEVA, 27 February (UN Information Service) -- The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination will meet at the Palais des Nations from 3 to 21 March to review anti-discrimination efforts undertaken by the Governments of Côte d'Ivoire, Ecuador, Fiji, Ghana, Morocco, Poland, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Tunisia and Uganda.

These countries are among the 167 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-second session of the Committee, its members will also look into the state of affairs in Barbados, Bahamas, Guyana and Papua New Guinea under its review procedure. All of these States parties, except Guyana, have previously submitted reports to the Committee, but their periodic reports are seriously overdue.

Also at this session, the Committee will 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; review of the progress of the Third Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination; and follow-up to the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance.

The twelfth and thirteenth periodic reports of Morocco were considered in August 1998 and the Committee's conclusions and recommendations on them can be found in document CERD/C/304/Add.57. The eleventh and twelfth reports of Ecuador were examined in March 1993, and the Committee's conclusions and recommendations on them can be found in document A/48/18, paras. 128-146. The ninth to twelfth periodic reports of Tunisia were considered in March 1994, and the Committee's recommendations on them can be found in document A/49/18, paras. 160-180. The initial report of Uganda was examined in 1984, and the Committee's recommendations on it can be found in document A/39/18, paras. 378-386. The tenth to fourteenth periodic reports of the Russian Federation were considered in March 1998, and the Committee's recommendations on them can be found in document CERD/C/304/Add.43.

The thirteenth and fourteenth periodic reports of Poland were considered in August 1997, and the concluding observations on them can be found in document CERD/C/304/Add.36. The conclusions on the last report presented by Côte d'Ivoire can be found in A/51/18, paras. 262-264. The initial to fourth periodic reports of Slovenia were reviewed in August 2000, and the Committee's conclusions on them can be found in document CERD/C/304/Add.105. The conclusions on the last report submitted by Fiji can be found in document A/57/18, paras. 471-476. And the twelfth to fifteenth periodic reports of Ghana were examined in August 2000, and the recommendations can be found in document CERD/C/304/90.

Concerning the situation in the countries that will be considered under the review procedure, the conclusions on the last report presented by Papua New Guinea can be found in document CERD/C/60/CO/10. The conclusions on the last report presented by Barbados can be found in document A/49/18, paras. 284-291. And the conclusions on the last report submitted by the Bahamas can be found in document A/52/18, paras. 57-59. Guyana 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 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 167 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, Equatorial Guinea, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Holy See, Honduras, 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, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, 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, Serbia and Montenegro, 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, Thailand, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, 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, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Ukraine, and Uruguay.

Committee Membership and 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); Régis de Gouttes (France); Kurt Herndl (Austria); Patricia Nozipho January-Bardill (South Africa); Morten Kjaerum (Denmark); José Augusto Lindgren Alves (Brazil); Raghavan Vasudevan Pillai (India); Yuri A. Reshetov (Russian Federation); Luis Valencia Rodriguez (Ecuador); Agha Shahi (Pakistan); Linos Alexander Sicilianos (Greece); Tang Chengyuan (China); Mohamed Aly Thiam (Guinea); Patrick Thornberry (United Kingdom); 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.