UN: CERD adopted concluding observations on Cambodia, Colombia, Ireland, Israel and Uzbekistan
Date : 2019.12.17
On the 13th of December, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) concluded its 100th session. At the session, CERD adopted concluding observations on Cambodia, Colombia, Ireland, Israel and Uzbekistan. *Recommendations with asterisks [*] are one-year follow-up recommendations.
To celebrate the 100th session, the Committee convened a special meeting where IMADR delivered a joint NGO statement. The Committee also adopted guidelines on reprisals against human rights defenders. The Meeting with NGOs to discuss working methods and other relevant matters was held on 9th December
On inter-state communications, the Committee adopted decisions that it has jurisdictions regarding the communication submitted by the State of Palestine against the State of Israel. The Committee will consider the admissibility of the communication from the next session.
In accordance with its follow-up procedure, The Committee adopted the follow-up letters to Belarus, Canada, Costa Rica, the Russian Federation and Sweden.
The Committee issued the letters to Belarus, Chile, Panama and the Russian Federation and the decision on Canada under its Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedure.
Concluding observations, reports of the States parties and other stakeholders are available at the OHCHR website. Video archives of the public meetings with the States parties can be accessed at UN Web TV.
The Committee was alarmed by the land grabbing and the occupation of indigenous territory, suggesting a special body should be enacted to facilitate consultations between the State party and indigenous peoples over land issues. The State party was questioned on specific remedies for indigenous peoples affected by corporate projects, including mechanisms for gaining informed consent of ingenious peoples. The Committee was concerned for the security and safety of civil society groups, in particular those of indigenous peoples and minorities, and advised the State party to take concrete measures to ensure uninhibited civil society participation by all. The State party was questioned on the criminalization of racial discrimination, and the Committee pointed out discrepancies between the Cambodian legal definition of racial discrimination and the definition provided by ICERD. The Committee was alarmed by the human rights situation of the Khmer Krom, a minority group of Vietnamese origin, who are or at risk of statelessness and increasingly the targets of racist hate speech. The Committee was specifically concerned by the violence against people of Vietnamese origin and reports of discrimination against Christian and Muslim groups. The Committee welcomed a new Nationality Law adopted in 2018 but was alarmed at the State party’s low refugee recognition rate. The Committee acknowledged efforts in education that strove for equality and asked the State party about its benefits for ethnic minorities, indigenous groups, and those of African or other migrant origin. The State party was questioned on measures against human trafficking, including the prosecution of child traffickers and specific training initiatives for law enforcement. Read more (English/ French). In its concluding observations, the Committee issued recommendations concerning following areas:
- Statistical data;
- National human rights institution*;
- Definition of racial discrimination;
- Anti-racial discrimination legislation;
- Hate speech and hate crimes;
- Domestic implementation of the Convention;
- Complaints of racial discrimination;
- Independence of the judiciary;
- Access to justice;
- Situation of ethnic Vietnamese;
- Situation of Khmer Krom;
- Situation of indigenous peoples;
- Situation of minority women;
- Human trafficking;
- Refugees and asylum seekers;
- Civil society organizations; and
- Human rights training*.
The Committee was concerned by the conflicts surrounding land rights of indigenous peoples and people of African descent, especially alarmed by delays in the allocation of recognised land to their rightful owners. The Committee called for the timely implementation of rulings favorable to the interest of indigenous peoples. The State party was asked to explain a worrying demographic shift from the results of the 2018 census, which had a sharp decline of the Afro-Colombian population. The Committee welcomed self-identification criterion but encouraged more consistent and reliable criteria and training for interviewers for future census. The State party’s efforts toward the preservation of indigenous languages were welcomed by the Committee. The Committee noted the State party’s report of investment into education for Venezuelan migrant children, indigenous and Afro-Colombian students, and those living in rural areas. The Committee was highly concerned by the high level of violence against indigenous and Afro-Colombian women. The Committee encouraged more thorough implementation of existing initiatives that the State party listed to combat gender-based violence. The Committee was concerned that Colombian criminal law did not include clear legislation addressing supremacist propaganda to the detriment of human rights defenders including those belonging to indigenous, minority and migrant groups. The Committee was concerned for migrant women as vulnerable targets for human trafficking. The Committee asked how health care can be improved for LGBT members of discriminated groups, including more accessibility to STD clinics. Read more (English/ French). In its concluding observations, the Committee issued recommendations concerning following areas:
- Demographic composition of the population;
- Definition of racial discrimination;
- Prohibition of direct and indirect discrimination;
- Racial hatred and incitement to racial discrimination;
- Impact of the armed conflict, peace, justice and reparation agreement;
- Structural discrimination;
- Right to prior consultation;
- Territorial rights and land restitution*;
- Indigenous peoples in danger of extinction, in isolation or initial contact*;
- Situation of Afro-descendant and indigenous women;
- Venezuelan migrants;
- Human rights defenders; and
- Access to justice and indigenous jurisdiction.
The Committee advised Ireland to withdraw their reservation on Article 4 of ICERD on racist hate speech, particularly due to a rise in anti-migrant discourse in politics. The Committee was concerned about reports of hate crimes against minorities and migrants, including Muslim women wearing headscarves. Statistical data on racist hate crimes also remained unpublished, alarming the Committee. The Committee welcomed the State party’s promise to finalize a legislation on hate crimes and hate speech. The Committee expressed much concern over the lack of explicit prohibition of intersectional discrimination based on racism and other identities in Irish penal code. The Committee asked the State party about the existence of measures to tackle racism in sports. The Committee was concerned about the lack of data on prison populations, specifically interested in demographic data to examine disproportionate incarceration. The Committee was alarmed by reports of racial profiling by law enforcement officers. The Committee welcomed the adoption of the National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy 2017-2021 but remained concerned about the status of its implementation. The State party was questioned on their plan to adopt a new National Action Plan against Racism. The Committee recommended that the State party addresses the vulnerable situation of asylum-seekers and refugees such as their aceess to housing and employment. The Committee questioned the State party on the housing crisis affecting Travellers. The State party was inquired about educational measures to accurately reflect the history of minorities including Mixed Race Irish and Irish people of African descent. Read more (English/ French). In its concluding observations, the Committee issued recommendations concerning following areas:
- Data collection;
- Incorporation of the Convention into the domestic legal order;
- Reservation to Article 4 of the Convention;
- Legislative framework for the elimination of racial discrimination;
- The policy and institutional framework for the elimination of racial discrimination;
- Racial profiling;
- Mother and Baby Homes;
- Racist hate speech*;
- Racist hate crime*;
- People of African descent;
- Participation in political and public life;
- Right to housing;
- Education of minority children;
- Legislative and policy framework for Travellers and Roma;
- Economic, social and cultural rights of Travellers and Roma;
- Refugees, asylum seekers and stateless persons;
- Direct Provision system;
- Domestic violence, sexual and gender-based violence, and female genital mutilation;
- Human trafficking;
- Legal aid*;
- Access to licensed premises;
- Business and human rights; and
- Human rights and equality training for public officials.
The Committee expressed concern that the State party has not adopted a legal definition of racial discrimination in line with ICERD. The Committee encouraged the State party to collect information on intersecting forms of discrimination, including based on gender and ctizenship. The Committee was deeply concerned by the rise in racist hate speech against refugees and asylum seekers, for instance against those of Sudanese or Eritrean origin. The Committee was concerned about the disparities in many socioeconomic indicators such as education and life expectancy that represent discrimination against Arab minorities. The Committee inquired about minority communities within the Jewish population. The Committee questioned the State party on the recognition of Hebrew as the only official language and its impacts on the linguistic rights of Arabic-speaking and other minorities. The Committee was concerned by the treatment of indigenous Bedouin people as well as people of Ethiopian descent and Roma. The Committee was alarmed by reports of forced displacement of Bedouin people from their ancestral land. The Committee inquired about reports of incidents where migrant women from Ethiopia were forcibly given contraceptive injections. The Committee reaffirmed that Israel’s ICERD obligations extend to occupied territories. The Committee recommended for human rights training for law enforcement officials. Read more (English/ French). In its concluding observations, the Committee issued recommendations concerning following areas:
- Composition of the population;
- Applicability of the Convention;
- Prohibition of racial discrimination;
- Basic Law: Israel – the Nation State of the Jewish People;
- Discriminatory laws;
- Institutional framework*;
- Complaints of racial discrimination;
- Segregation between Jewish and non-Jewish communities, including in the Occupied Palestinian Territory;
- Family reunification;
- Racist hate speech and hate crimes;
- Situation of the Bedouin people*;
- Situation of Domari (Gypsy) people;
- Situation of minority women;
- Minorities within the Jewish population;
- Participation in public and political life;
- Rights to education, work and health;
- Situation of migrants, refugees, asylum-seekers and stateless persons;
- Settlement policies and acts of violence in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem;
- Ongoing blockade of the Gaza Strip; and
- Occupied Syrian Golan.
The Committee encouraged the State party to incorporate colour and descent in the definition of racial discrimination in line with ICERD as well as Article 4 on racist hate speech. In response to the State party’s assertion that no complaint of racial discrimination had been received, it raised a concern to the State party that the justice system may not be accessible for different ethnic groups. The Committee inquired the State party regarding the high incarceration rate of Roma and Uighurs. The State party was questioned about the availability of legal aid as well as the function of the national human rights institution (NHRI). The Committee acknowledged the linguistic diversity in Uzbekistan, noting that 7 languages were made available as a language of instruction in schools. The Committee requested the State party to provide more data on the socioeconomic status of various ethnic groups. The Committee commended the State party for efforts toward social reform and engagement with the international community since 2016. The State party was urged to ratify the UN Conventions on refugees and statelessness. The Committee asked the State party about training of officials including judges on legislations concerning racial discrimination. The Committee questioned the State party if the draft law on non-governmental organisations was discouraging full participation from civil society. The Committee regretted that no NGOs were able to add input to the CERD review in Geneva. Read more (English/ French). In its concluding observations, the Committee issued recommendations concerning following areas:
- Definition of racial discrimination and legislation;
- Article 4 of the Convention;
- Rights of ethnic minorities;
- The situation of Luli/Roma*;
- Karakalpak ethnic group;
- Education in ethnic languages;
- Prison population*;
- Stateless persons and asylum seekers; and
- Complaints for acts of racial discrimination.
Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedure
Canada: The Committee adopted a decision concerning the State party’s refusal to consider free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) with indigenous peoples including large-scale projects such as the Site C dam, the Trans Mountain Pipeline Extension project and the Coastal Gas Link pipeline. The Committee expressed concerns on the situation of indigenous rights defenders who face violence, threats, harassment and intimidation for their opposition to those projects. The Committee urged the State party to halt those projects until they obtain FPIC from indigenous peoples and ensure the safe and free environment for indigenous rights defenders. It also requested for incorporation of the FPIC principle into domestic law.
Belarus: The Committee sent a letter to the State party concerning the allegation of mass arbitrary arrest and other human rights violations against Roma people in Mogilev Oblast in relation to the murder of a police lieutenant, including intimidation, excessive use of force, violence and hate speech by police. The Committee requested the State party to provide information on thorough and impartial investigation regarding the murder of a police lieutenant, investigations into the abovementioned allegations of racial discrimination against Roma and punishments of those responsible and effective remedies to victims, the protection of victims from retaliation or reprisals, and measures to promote dialogue and mutual understanding between different Roma and non-Roma communities.
Chile: The Committee sent a letter to the State party concerning the negative impacts of garbage dumps and landfills on indigenous land of Huilliche communities in Chiloé. The Committee requested the State party to provide information on environmental and social impact assessment of the landfill, consultations with the indigenous communities for their free, prior and informed consent, as well as measures to protect indigenous rights including their cultural rights.
Panama: The Committee sent a letter to the State party concerning the situation of Ngäbe indigenous people affected by the Changuinola 1 hydroelectric plant in the country. The Committee requested the State party to provide information on the compliance with the tripartite agreement of November 26, 2009, in relation to human rights of indigenous peoples affected by the plant, and the agreement of friendly settlement signed on August 26, 2019 as well as relevant measures. The Committee also urged the State party to submit its 21st to 23rd periodic reports without further delay, which was due to be presented on January 4, 2013.
Russia: The Committee issued a letter to the State party concerning a report of an inter-ethnic violent confrontation between Roma and non-Roma in the village of Chemodanovka, Penza Oblast in June 2019, which led to the displacement of approx. 900 local Roma persons. In addition, the Committee was alerted by the report that anti-Roma pogrom occurred in UstAbakan, Republic of Khakassia, in May 2019, which resulted in the death of a young Russian man and feeling of around 500 Roma persons. Roma are subject to a court order to demolish around 15 of their houses, without alternate option for resettlement. The Committee requested the State party to provide information on thorough and impartial investigation regarding the death of a young Russian man, investigations into the abovementioned allegations of discrimination against Roma and punishments of those responsible and effective remedies to victims, the protection of victims from retaliation or reprisals, prevent forced evictions of Roma and demolition of their houses, and measures to promote dialogue and mutual understanding between different Roma and non-Roma communities.