Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to meet in Geneva from 2 to 27 August 2010

Committee on the Elimination
of Racial Discrimination 29 July 2010
BACKGROUND RELEASE

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination will hold its seventy-seventh session at the Palais Wilson in Geneva from 2 to 27 August 2010 to review anti-discrimination efforts undertaken by the Governments of Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, France, Iran, Morocco, Slovenia, Romania and Uzbekistan.

These countries are among the 173 States parties to the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination. 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 treaty, 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. In addition, the Committee will consider a number of situations under its Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedures.

During the course of the four-week session, the Committee will examine individual communications of violations of the Convention in closed session, and consider follow-up information submitted by States parties in relation to the observations and recommendations of the Committee. In accordance with a decision taken at its seventy-third session, the Committee will also consider matters related to the Universal Periodic Review of the Human Rights Council. In addition, it will discuss possible follow up activities to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action and the Durban Review Conference.

At its first meeting, after the opening of the session by the High Commissioner for Human Rights or her representative and the adoption of the agenda, the Committee will hold a dialogue with United Nations specialized agencies and other competent bodies.

Background on Reports to Be Considered at This Session

The 11 States parties whose reports are being examined at the present session have previously been reviewed by the Committee.

The Committee considered the thirteenth and fourteenth periodic reports of Australia on 1 and 2 March 2005, and its concluding observations on the report can be found in document CERD/C/AUS/CO/14. It examined the initial to sixth periodic reports of Bosnia and Herzegovina on 22 and 23 February 2006, and issued concluding observations in document CERD/C/BIH/CO/6. On 9 and 10 August 2006 the Committee reviewed the combined sixteenth and seventeenth periodic reports of Denmark, and published its concluding observations on it in document CERD/C/DEN/CO/17. It considered the ninth through thirteenth periodic reports of El Salvador on 27 and 28 February 2006, and issued concluding observations in document CERD/C/SLV/CO/13. On 31 July and 2 August 2006, the Committee took up the combined sixth and seventh periodic reports of Estonia, and published concluding observations on those reports in document CERD/C/EST/CO/7. It examined the fifteenth and sixteenth periodic reports of France, on 22 and 23 February 2005, and made public its concluding observations in document CERD/C/FRA/CO/16. The Committee considered the sixteenth and seventeenth periodic reports of Iran on 12 and 13 August 2003, and concluding observations on those reports can be found in document CERD/C/63/CO/6. On 3 and 4 March 2003, it reviewed the combined fourteenth through sixteenth periodic reports of Morocco, and published concluding observations in document CERD/C/62/CO/5. In March 2003 a review was undertaken of the fifth periodic report of Slovenia and the Committee issued concluding observations on that report in document CERD/C/62/CO/9. On 3 and 4 August 1999, the Committee considered the twelfth to fifteenth periodic reports of Romania and published its concluding observations in document CERD/C/304/Add.85. And, on 28 February and 1 March 2006, the Committee considered the third through fifth periodic reports of Uzbekistan, and concluding observations on that review can be found in document CERD/C/UZB/CO/5.

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

Adopted in 1965 by the General Assembly, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination entered into force 4 January 1969. The Convention defines racial discrimination as any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.

Under the Convention, States parties commit themselves to condemn racial discrimination and undertake to pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a policy of eliminating racial discrimination in all its forms and promoting understanding among all races. To that end, each State Party undertakes to engage in no act or practice of racial discrimination against persons, groups of persons or institutions and to ensure that all public authorities and public institutions, national and local, shall act in conformity with this obligation; not to sponsor, defend or support racial discrimination by any persons or organizations; to take effective measures to review governmental, national and local policies, and to amend, rescind or nullify any laws and regulations which have the effect of creating or perpetuating racial discrimination wherever it exists; to prohibit and bring to an end, by all appropriate means, including legislation as required by circumstances, racial discrimination by any persons, group or organization; to encourage, where appropriate, integrationist multiracial organizations and movements and other means of eliminating barriers between races, and to discourage anything which tends to strengthen racial division.

In accordance with article 4, States parties also undertake to condemn all propaganda and all organizations which are based on ideas or theories of superiority of one race or group of persons of one colour or ethnic origin, or which attempt to justify or promote racial hatred and discrimination in any form, and undertake to adopt immediate and positive measures designed to eradicate all incitement to, or acts of, such discrimination.

States parties, by virtue of article 9, undertake to submit a report on the legislative, judicial, administrative or other measures which they have adopted and which give effect to the provisions of this Convention. To ensure the implementation and the respect of their obligations under the Convention by States parties, the Convention establishes the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to examine the reports presented by States parties.

In addition, as provided in article 14, a State Party may at any time declare that it recognizes the competence of the Committee to receive and consider communications from individuals or groups of individuals within its jurisdiction claiming to be victims of a violation by that State Party of any of the rights set forth in this Convention. No communication shall be received by the Committee if it concerns a State party that has not made such a declaration. To date 54 States parties have made a declaration under this article.

States Parties to the Convention

At present, the following 173 States are parties to the Convention: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, 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, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States of America, 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 54 States parties have already done so: Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Ukraine, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Committee Membership

The members of the Committee, elected in their individual capacity, are: Nourredine Amir (Algeria); Alexei Avtonomov (Russian Federation); José Francisco Cali Tzay (Guatemala); Anastasia Crickley (Ireland); Fatima-Binta Victoria Dah (Burkina Faso); Ion Diaconu (Romania); Kokou Mawuena Ika Kana (Dieudonné) Ewomsan (Togo); Régis de Gouttes (France); Huang Yong'an (China); Anwar Kemal (Pakistan); Dilip Lahiri (India); Gün Kut (Turkey); José Augusto Lindgren Alves (Brazil); Pastor Elias Murillo Martinez (Colombia); Chris Maina Peter (Tanzania); Pierre-Richard Prosper (United States of America); Waliakoye Saidou (Niger); and Patrick Thornberry (United Kingdom).

Anwar Kemal is the Chairperson of the Committee. José Francisco Cali Tzay, Fatima-Binta Victoria Dah and Pierre-Richard Prosper are Vice-Chairpersons and Ion Diaconu serves as Committee Rapporteur.

Timetable for Opening Meeting and Consideration of State Party Reports

Monday, 2 August

10 a.m. Opening of Session; Adoption of agenda;
Dialogue with United Nations agencies and entities (closed meeting)

Tuesday, 3 August

10 a.m. Meeting with non-governmental organizations

3 p.m. El Salvador: combined fourteenth and fifteenth periodic reports (CERD/C/SLV/14-15)

Wednesday, 4 August

10 a.m. El Salvador (continued)

3 p.m. Iran: combined eighteenth and nineteenth period reports (CERD/C/IRN/20)

Thursday, 5 August

10 a.m. Iran (continued)

3 p.m. Uzbekistan: combined sixth and seventh periodic reports (CERD/C/UZB/6-7)

Friday, 6 August

10 a.m. Uzbekistan (continued)

Monday, 9 August

3 p.m. Romania: combined sixteenth to nineteenth periodic reports (CERD/C/ROU/16-19)

Tuesday, 10 August

10 a.m. Romania (continued)

3 p.m. Australia: combined fifteenth through seventeenth periodic reports (CERD/C/AUS/15-17)

Wednesday, 11 August

10 a.m. Australia (continued)

3 p.m. France: combined seventeenth through nineteenth periodic reports (CERD/C/FRA/17-19)

Thursday, 12 August

10 a.m. France (continued)

3 p.m. Slovenia: combined sixth and seventh periodic reports (CERD/C/SVN/7)

Friday, 13 August

10 a.m. Slovenia (continued)

Monday, 16 August

10 a.m. Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedure (closed meeting)

3 p.m. Morocco: combined seventeenth and eighteenth periodic reports (CERD/C/MAR/17-18)

Tuesday, 17 August

10 a.m. Morocco (continued)

3 p.m. Denmark: combined eighteenth and nineteenth periodic reports (CERD/C/DNK/18-19)

Wednesday, 18 August

10 a.m. Denmark (continued)

3 p.m. Bosnia and Herzegovina: combined seventh and eighth periodic reports (CRD/C/BIH/7-8)

Thursday, 19 August

10 a.m. Bosnia and Herzegovina (continued)

3 p.m. Estonia: combined eighth and ninth periodic reports (CRD/C/EST/8-9)

Friday, 20 August

10 a.m. Estonia (continued)

Tuesday, 24 August

10 a.m. Follow Up Procedure (closed meeting)

Friday, 27 August

10 a.m. Adoption of annual report to the General Assembly; close of session

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