Committee to Consider Reports of Albania, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Czech Republic, Finland, Iran, Latvia, Norway, Republic of Korea, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, United Kingdom
The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination will meet at the Palais des Nations, Room XI, from 4 to 22 August 2003 to review anti-discrimination efforts undertaken by the Governments of Albania, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Czech Republic, Finland, Islamic Republic of Iran, Latvia, Norway, Republic of Korea, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and the United Kingdom.
These countries are among the 169 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-third session of the Committee, its members will also look at the implementation of the Convention in the Bahamas, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malawi, Suriname, Tajikistan and Zambia under its review procedure. All of these States parties are at least five years late for the submission of their initial or periodic reports to the Committee.
Also 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. Furthermore, the Committee will hold its first-ever meeting with States parties on 19 August 2003 during its afternoon session (to be held in Room XII at the Palais des Nations).
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.
The situation in Cape Verde was considered in August 1996 and the Committee's recommendations on it can be found in document A/51/18, paras. 437-439. The eighth to thirteenth periodic reports of Bolivia were examined in August 1996 and the Committee's conclusions and recommendations on them can be found in document CERD/C/304/Add.10. The third and fourth periodic reports of the Czech Republic were considered in August 2000 and the Committee's conclusions and recommendations on them can be found in document CERD/C/304/Add.109. The fifteenth periodic report of Finland was examined in 2000 and the Committee’s conclusions and recommendations on it can be found in document CERD/C/304/Add.107. The thirteenth to fifteenth periodic reports of the Islamic Republic of Iran were considered in August 1999 and the Committee’s recommendations on them can be found in document CERD/C/304/Add.83. The initial to third periodic reports of Latvia were considered in August 1999 and the concluding observations on them can be found in document CERD/C/304/Add.79. The fifteenth periodic report of Norway was considered in August 2000 and the conclusions and recommendations of the Committee on it can be found in document CERD/C/363/Add.3. The ninth and tenth periodic reports of the Republic of Korea were examined in March 1999 and the Committee's recommendations on them can be found in document CERD/C/304/Add.65. The situation in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was examined in March 2002 and the recommendations of the Committee can be found in CERD/C/60/CO/Add.13. And the fifteenth periodic report of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland was considered in August 2000 and the Committee's conclusions and recommendations can be found in document CERD/C/304/Add.102.
Concerning the situation in the countries that will be considered under the review procedure, the conclusions on the last report presented by Bahamas can be found in document A/52/18, paras. 57-59. The conclusions on the last report presented by Bosnia and Herzegovina can be found in document A/50/18 paras. 205-225. The conclusions on the situation of Lao People's Democratic Republic can be found in document A/51/18, paras. 452-455. The conclusions on the last report presented by Suriname can be found in document A/52/18, paras. 487-489. And the conclusions on the last report submitted by Zambia can be found in document A/48/18, paras. 236-256. Malawi and Tajikistan have never presented reports.
States Parties to Convention
At present, the following 169 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, Kyrgystan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, San Marino, St. Lucia, St. 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, Thailand, Timor Leste, 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, 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 43 States parties have already done so: Algeria, Austria, Australia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Uruguay and Yugoslavia.
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); 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).
After the passing away of Yuri A. Reshetov (Russian Federation), the nomination of a new Expert by the Russian Federation is to be confirmed by the Committee on 4 August 2003.
Mr. Diaconu is Chairperson of the Committee; Mr. Amir, Mr. Yutzis and Mr. Pillai are Vice-Chairpersons; and Mr. Thornberry is Rapporteur.
Timetable for Consideration of Reports, Comments and Further Information
Submitted by States Parties
Monday, 4 August
p.m. Albania Initial to fourth periodic reports (CERD/C/397/Add.1)
Tuesday, 5 August
a.m. Albania (continued)
p.m. Cape Verde Third to twelfth periodic reports (CERD/C/426/Add.1)
Wednesday, 6 August
a.m. Cape Verde (continued)
p.m. United Kingdom Sixteenth and seventeenth periodic reports
Thursday, 7 August
a.m. United Kingdom (continued)
p.m. Czech Republic Fifth periodic reports (CERD/C/419/Add.1)
Friday, 8 August
a.m. Czech Republic (continued)
p.m. Republic of Korea Eleventh and twelfth periodic reports (CERD/C/426/Add.2)
Monday, 11 August
a.m. Republic of Korea (continued)
p.m. Bolivia Fourteenth to sixteenth periodic reports
Tuesday, 12 August
a.m. Bolivia (continued)
p.m. Iran (Islamic Republic of) Sixteenth and seventeenth periodic reports
Wednesday, 13 August
a.m. Iran (continued)
p.m. Latvia Fourth and fifth periodic reports (CERD/C/398/Add.2)
Thursday, 14 August
a.m. Latvia (continued)
p.m. Finland Sixteenth periodic report (CERD/C/409/Add.2)
Friday, 15 August
a.m. Finland (continued)
p.m. Norway Sixteenth periodic report (CERD/C/430/Add.2)
Monday, 18 August
a.m. Norway (continued)
p.m. Saint Vincent and Second to tenth periodic reports(CERD/C/378/Add.1)
Tuesday, 19 August
a.m. Saint Vincent and (continued)
° Review procedure (for States parties whose reports are seriously overdue).