Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to hold eightieth session in Geneva from 13 February to 9 March 2012

Committee on the Elimination CERD/12/1
of Racial Discrimination 9 February 2012


Reports of Mexico, Israel, Kuwait, Portugal, Viet Nam, Canada, Turkmenistan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Qatar, Jordan and Italy to be Reviewed

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination will hold its eightieth session at Palais Wilson in Geneva from 13 February to 9 March to review anti-discrimination efforts undertaken by the Governments of Mexico, Israel, Kuwait, Portugal, Viet Nam, Canada, Turkmenistan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Qatar, Jordan and Italy.

These countries are among the 175 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 States fulfilment of their obligations under a specific human rights treaty, examines reports submitted periodically by States parties on their efforts to comply with the Convention. Government representatives generally present the report, discuss its contents with Committee members and answer their questions. At the end of the session the Committee addresses its concerns and recommendations to the State party in the form of ‘concluding observations’.

At its first meeting, after the opening of the session by the High Commissioner for Human Rights or her representative, the Committee will adopt its agenda and elect a new bureau. That will be followed by a closed meeting in which the Committee will hold a dialogue with United Nations specialized agencies and other competent bodies.

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 consider matters related to the Universal Periodic Review of the Human Rights Council and discuss possible follow up activities to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action and the Durban Review Conference. The Committee will hold informal meetings with non-governmental organizations working in the countries being examined this session, and also hold a closed meeting in which it will consider situations under its Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedures.

Background on Reports to Be Considered at This Session

The 11 States parties whose reports are being examined have all been previously reviewed by the Committee. The concluding observations for each State’s most recent review can be accessed via the following hyperlinks: Canada (2007 - CERD/C/CAN/CO/18), Italy (2008 - CERD/C/ITA/CO/15), Israel (2007 - CERD/C/ISR/CO/13), Jordan (1997 – CERD/C/50/CO), Kuwait (1999 – CERD/C/304/Add.7), Lao People's Democratic Republic (2005 - CERD/C/LAO/CO/15), Mexico (2006 - CERD/C/MEX/CO/15), Portugal (2004 - CERD/C/65/CO/6), Qatar (2002 - CERD/C/60/CO/1), Turkmenistan (2005 - CERD/C/TKM/CO/5) and Viet Nam (2001 – CERD/C/59/CO).

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 on 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.

By signing up to the Convention, States parties commit themselves to condemn racial discrimination and to pursue, by all appropriate means and without delay, policies of eliminating racial discrimination in all its forms and promoting understanding among all races. To that end, each State Party undertakes not to engage in any 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 175 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, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, 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); Fatimata-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).

Timetable for Opening Meeting and Consideration of State Party Reports

Monday, 13 February

10 a.m. Opening of Session; Adoption of agenda and election of new bureau.

12 p.m. Dialogue with United Nations agencies and entities (closed meeting).

3 p.m. Closed meeting

Tuesday, 14 February

10 a.m. Informal meeting with non-governmental organizations on Mexico, Israel and
Kuwait (closed meeting).

3 p.m. Mexico: combined 16th to 17th periodic reports (CERD/C/MEX/16-17).

Wednesday, 15 February

10 a.m. Mexico (continued)

3 p.m. Israel: combined 14th to 16th period reports (CERD/C/ISR/14-16).

Thursday, 16 February

10 a.m. Israel (continued)

3 p.m. Kuwait: combined 15th to 20th periodic reports (CERD/C/KWT/15-20).

Friday, 17 February

10 a.m. Kuwait (continued)

3 p.m. Closed meeting

Monday, 20 February

10 a.m. Informal meeting with non-governmental organizations on Viet Nam and
Canada (closed meeting).

3 p.m. Portugal: combined 12th to 14th periodic reports (CERD/C/PRT/12-14).

Tuesday, 21 February

10 a.m. Portugal (continued)

3 p.m. Viet Nam: combined 10th to 14th periodic reports (CERD/C/VNM/10-14).

Wednesday, 22 February

10 a.m. Viet Nam (continued)

3 p.m. Canada: combined 19th to 20th periodic reports (CERD/C/CAN/19-21).

Thursday, 23 February

10 a.m. Canada (continued)

3 p.m. Turkmenistan: combined sixth to sevenths periodic reports (CERD/C/TKM/6-7)

Friday, 24 February

10 a.m. Turkmenistan (continued)

3 p.m. Closed Meeting

Monday, 27 February

10 a.m. Informal meeting with non-governmental organizations of Lao People's
Democratic Republic and Italy (closed meeting).

3 p.m. Closed Meeting

Tuesday, 28 February

10 a.m. Closed Meeting

3 p.m. Lao People's Democratic Republic: combined 16th and 17th periodic reports

Wednesday, 29 February

10 a.m. Lao People's Democratic Republic (continued)

3 p.m. Qatar: combined 13th to 16th periodic reports (CRD/C/QAT/13-16)

Thursday, 1 March

10 a.m. Qatar (continued)

3 p.m. Jordan: combined 13th to 17th periodic reports (CRD/C/JOR/13-17)

Friday, 2 March

10 a.m. Jordan (continued)

3 p.m. Communications (closed meeting)

Monday, 5 March

10 a.m. Italy: combined 16th to 18th periodic reports (CRD/C/ITA/16-18)

3 p.m. Italy (continued).

Tuesday, 6 March

10 a.m. Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedure (closed meeting)
Follow-up procedure (closed meeting)

3 p.m. Closed meeting

Friday, 9 March

10 a.m. Closed Meeting

3 p.m. Adoption of the annual report and close of session (public)


For use of the information media; not an official record