|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
States Parties to Convention
against Racial Discrimination
1st Meeting (AM)
States Parties to Convention on Elimination of Racial Discrimination Elect Nine
Experts to Monitoring Committee, Learn Two More States Have Joined Treaty
States Parties to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination this morning elected by secret ballot nine members of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to replace those whose four-year terms were set to expire on 19 January 2012.
The Committee is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention by its States Parties. The Committee is composed of 18 independent experts. Members are elected for a term of four years by States Parties in accordance with the Convention’s article 8. Elections for nine of them are held every two years, ensuring a balance between continuity and change in the composition of the Committee.
With 167 States Parties voting, the following experts were elected today:
Huang Yong’an ( China) – 148 votes
Dilip Lahiri (India) – 147 votes
Alexei Avtonomov ( Russian Federation) – 133 votes
Carlos Manuel Vázquez (United States) – 131 votes
Jose Francisco Cali Tzay (Guatemala) – 127 votes
Fatima-Binta Victoire Dah (Burkina Faso) – 125 votes
Patricia Nozipho January-Bardill ( South Africa) – 117 votes
Pastor Elias Murillo Martínez (Colombia) – 112 votes
Ion Diaconu ( Romania) – 109 votes
Also today, Ivan Šimonović, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights of the United Nations, shed light on recent developments in the Committee, noting that since it last met on 21 January 2010, two more States had become Parties to the Convention, bringing the total number of States Parties to 175. While that number was high and a “matter for satisfaction”, there was still a way to go to reach the goal of universal ratification.
At its 8 August to 2 September session, the Committee adopted general recommendation number 34 on “racial discrimination against people of African descent” as part of its activities to contribute to the International Year of People of African Descent, he said. With that recommendation, the Committee aimed to clarify certain aspects of that discrimination, States’ responsibilities to address it, and the Committee’s support in the struggle to overcome it worldwide.
Also during that session, the Committee had agreed on a statement on the commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, he said. The statement sent a strong message to the high-level meeting commemorating the anniversary in September by reaffirming the Declaration and the Plan of Action adopted by the 2001 World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. It also reiterated the central role of the Convention and the Committee in combating racism and racial discrimination, urged States Parties to fully implement the Convention’s provisions and called again for its universal ratification without reservations.
Notwithstanding the Committee’s important contributions, there still was room for improvement, he said. Only 54 States Parties had adopted the optional declaration recognizing the Committee’s competence to receive communication under article 14 of the Convention, leaving the individual communications procedure underutilized. As a result, the Committee only issued three opinions on the communications in the past two years.
During 2010 and 2011, the Committee considered 43 initial or periodic reports and, in each case, adopted conclusions and recommendations aimed at national implementation of the Convention, he said. In December 2011, the General Assembly had extended until 2012 its December 2008 decision that authorized the Committee to meet for an additional week per session. That extra meeting time allowed the Committee to address the backlog of reports awaiting consideration.
Concerning the Committee’s financing, he said that despite the Assembly’s repeated calls to do so, to date only 43 States Parties had ratified the amendment to article 8 of the Convention, which provided for financing the Committee’s activities from the United Nations regular budget and asked the Secretary-General to ensure the Committee received adequate funding. Two-thirds, or 116 States Parties to the Convention must accept the amendment for it to enter into force.
He called on States Parties to pay their outstanding arrears of voluntary contributions to the Committee and ratify the amendments to the Convention. That would be a “welcome first step” in carrying out a comprehensive review of the resource requirements of all human rights treaty bodies, as called for by the Office of the High Commissioner.
At the outset of the Meeting, Ferit Hoxha ( Albania) was elected to serve as its Chair and Tetsuya Kimura ( Japan) as its Vice Chair.
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