13 March 2001
COMMITTEE ON ELIMINATION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION TO MEET
AT PALAIS WILSON FROM 6 TO 23 MARCH
Committee to Consider Reports of Algeria, Argentina,
Bangladesh, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Japan, Portugal and Sudan
(Reissued as received.)
GENEVA, 2 March (UN Information Service) -- The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination will meet at the Palais Wilson from 6 to 23 March to review anti-discrimination efforts undertaken by the Governments of Algeria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Japan, Portugal and Sudan.
These countries are among the 156 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 fifty-eighth session of the Committee, its members will also look into the state of affairs in Côte d'Ivoire, Fiji, Gambia, Jamaica, Qatar, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. These States parties have previously submitted reports to the Committee but their periodic reports are seriously overdue.
The Committee will also continue its consideration of "prevention of racial discrimination, including 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
* This press release was previously issued as HR/4525.
against the 30 States parties that have recognized the competence of the Committee under article 14 of the Convention are admissible.
Other agenda items relate to consideration of the Committee's annual report; discussion of the effective implementation of international instruments on human rights; and review of the progress of the Third Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination and preparations for the upcoming World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.
At the beginning of the session, the Committee will approve by secret ballot the name of the Experts appointed by China and the United Kingdom for Great Britain and Northern Ireland to fill the vacancies resulting from the resignation of Deci Zou and Michael Banton respectively. The Committee shall also elect from among its members a rapporteur to replace Mr. Banton for the remainder of his term, which would have expired on 19 January 2002.
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 156 States are parties to the Convention: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, 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, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France,
Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Holy See, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy,
Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgystan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania.
Also, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, 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, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Yugoslavia, 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 30 States parties have already done so: Algeria, Australia, Bulgaria, Chile, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Senegal, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine and Uruguay.
Committee Membership and Officers
The members of the Committee, elected in their individual capacity, are: Mahmoud Aboul-Nasr (Egypt); Marc Bossuyt (Belgium); Brun-Otto Bryde (Germany), Ion Diaconu (Romania); Francois Lonsény Fall (Guinea); Régis de Gouttes (France); Carlos Lechuga Hevia (Cuba); Yuri A. Rechetov (Russian Federation); Raghavan Vasudevan Pillai (India); Agha Shahi (Pakistan); Michael E. Sherifis (Cyprus); Luis Valencia Rodriguez (Ecuador); Mario Jorge Yutzis (Argentina); Peter Nobel (Sweden); Patricia Nozipho January-Bardill (South Africa); and Gay McDougall (United States).
Mr. Sherifis is the Chairperson. The Vice-Chairpersons are Mr. Rechetov, Mr. Valencia Rodriguez and Mr. Fall.
Tentative Timetable for Consideration of Reports, Comments and Further Information Submitted by States Parties
Tuesday, 6 March
Argentina -- Fifteenth periodic report (CERD/C/338/Add.9)
Wednesday, 7 March
Argentina -- (continued)
Iceland -- Fifteenth and sixteenth periodic reports (CERD/C/338/Add.10 and CERD/C/384/Add.1)
Thursday, 8 March
a.m. Iceland -- (continued)
p.m. Japan -- Initial and second periodic reports (CERD/C/350/Add.2)
Friday, 9 March
a.m. Japan -- (continued)
p.m. Algeria -- Thirteenth and fourteenth periodic reports (CERD/C/362/Add.6)
Monday, 12 March
a.m. Algeria -- (continued)
p.m. Portugal -- Ninth periodic report (CERD/C/357/Add.1)
Tuesday, 13 March
a.m. Portugal -- (continued)
p.m. Germany -- Fifteenth periodic report (CERD/C/338/Add.14)
Wednesday, 14 March
a.m. Germany -- (continued)
p.m. Sudan -- Ninth, tenth and eleventh periodic reports (CERD/C/334/Add.2)
Thursday, 15 March
a.m. Sudan -- (continued)
p.m. Georgia -- Initial report (CERD/C/369/Add.1)
Friday, 16 March
a.m. Georgia -- (continued)
p.m. Greece -- Twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth periodic reports (CERD/C/363/Add.4)
Monday, 19 March
a.m. Greece -- (continued)
p.m. Bangladesh -- Seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth and eleventh periodic reports (CERD/C/379/Add.1)
Tuesday, 20 March
a.m. Bangladesh -- (continued)
Lao People's Democratic Republic*
Review procedure (for States parties whose reports are seriously overdue).
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