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UN: CERD adopted concluding observations of Andorra, Guatemala, Hungary, Lithuania and Zambia

Date : 2019.05.13

On the 10th of May, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) concluded its 98th session. At the session, CERD adopted concluding observations on Andorra, Guatemala, Hungary, Lithuania and Zambia. *Recommendations with asterisks [*] are one-year follow-up recommendations.

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 adopted follow-up letters  to the Governments of AustraliaEcuador, Kuwait, Pakistan and Serbia. Under the Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedure , the Committee issued letters to six countries. The letters will be posted on the OHCHR website in due course.



The Committee welcomed the recent adoption of the law on equality and non-discrimination and the creation of the Equality Services as results of the white paper on equality and non-discrimination. The Committee inquired about the progress in establishing an independent national human rights institution in line with the Paris Principles. Concerning migrants including refugees and asylum-seekers, the Committee drew its attention to the provision of legal aid, rights of children of migrant parents, ratification of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (ICMW), and the right to nationality. The Committee asked a number of questions concerning the justice system including the domestic application of ICERD, the consideration of racial discrimination as an aggravating circumstance to crime and the legal framework to counter racist hate speech. The Committee requested for information on Roma people in the country and racial discrimination in employment. The State party was encouraged to promote human rights education for mutual understandings and non-discrimination including the teaching of Roma history and activities to celebrate the International Decade for People of African-descent. The Committee requested the State party to share information on measures against multiple and intersecting forms of discriminationRead more (EnglishFrench). In its concluding observations , the Committee issued recommendations concerning following areas:

  • Collection of statistical data;
  • Application of the Convention in the domestic legal order;
  • Legislation and definition of racial discrimination;
  • Institutional framework;
  • National human rights institution;
  • Complaints of racial discrimination;
  • Aggravating circumstance for racially motivated crimes;
  • Access to citizenship;
  • Situation of women belonging to vulnerable groups*;
  • Discrimination in access to employment;
  • Trafficking in persons;
  • Refugees and asylum seekers*; and
  • Discriminatory stereotypes in the media.


While the State party’s draft bill on human rights defenders was considered as a potential step forward, the Committee expressed concerns on the situation of human rights defenders, especially indigenous rights defenders, who have reportedly been subject to attacks including criminalisation and stigmatisation. The Committee raised concerns on the interlinkages of poverty, corruption and structural discrimination against indigenous peoples and people of African-descent in their enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights. The State party was asked how it ensures the access to justice, education and health services in indigenous languages. The Committee raised a number of questions on multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination such as violence against indigenous women and girls including enforced disappearancesmalnutrition of indigenous children and forced sterilisation of indigenous persons with disability. The Committee shared concerns with the State party on reports of the lack of  free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) with indigenous peoples and people of African-descent and forced evictions from their ancestral land for mega projects. Further on business and human rights, the Committee requested the State party to provided information about measures against labour exploitation of indigenous peoples in the palm oil plantations and other industries. The State party received a series of questions on its justice system and  legal framework such as domestic application of ICERDthe status of indigenous jurisdictions in ordinary courts, police violence against indigenous peoples and people of African-descent. The Committee encouraged the State party to strengthen national institutions to combat structural racial discrimination and promote representation of indigenous peoples and people of African-descent including in media. Read more (EnglishFrench). NGO meeting (EnglishFrench). In its concluding observations , the Committee issued recommendations concerning following areas:

  • Compilation of statistics;
  • Legislation*;
  • Institutional measures;
  • Structural discrimination;
  • Armed conflict and peace agreements*;
  • Incitement to discrimination and racial hatred;
  • Prior consultation;
  • Lands, territories and natural resources;
  • Xinka people;
  • Freedom of expression;
  • Human rights defenders;
  • Political participation;
  • Labour rights;
  • Situation of indigenous and Afro-descendant women;
  • Multiple forms of discrimination; and
  • Access to justice.



Although the Committee regonised the existing legal framework to combat racial discrimination including the Equal Treatment Act, the Committee encouraged the State party to align the definition of racial discrimination with ICERD by including ethnicity and descent as prohibited grounds of discrimination. The State party was asked to provide detailed information on the justice system such as domestic application of ICERDreversal of burden of proof, independence of justice, and disaggregated prison population. The Committee was alerted by reports of racist hate speech against migrants by politicians, and it asked about counter-measures. The Committee inquired the State party about the protection of vulnerable groups from racist hate crimes through providing training for law enforcement officers and properly punishing perpetrators. The Committee shared its concerns with the State party on continuing discrimination and segregation of Roma in education, housing and employment, as well as the lack of representation in national institutions and media. Due to the existence of varying statistics, the State party was asked to clarify the actual number of Roma population in the country. The State party received a number of questions on the treatment of refugees and asylum-seekers such as ensuring the access to education and psychosocial services, conditions in the transit zones including the access to asylum process and the freedom from arbitrary detention. The Committee requested for further information on human rights education to promote mutual understandings and tackle racial discrimination including the teaching of histories of Jews and Roma. Questions were raised on civil society space to fight against racial discrimination Read more (EnglishFrench). NGO meeting (EnglishFrench). In its concluding observations , the Committee issued recommendations concerning following areas:

  • Statistics;
  • National human rights institution;
  • Anti-discrimination legal framework and its enforcement;
  • Complaints of racial discrimination*;
  • Racist hate crimes*;
  • Racist hate speech;
  • Prohibition of organizations that promote racial discrimination;
  • Situation of Roma*;
  • Situation of asylum seekers, migrants and refugees;
  • Non-refoulement and use of force against asylum seekers; and
  • Trainings and education on human rights and racial discrimination.



While the Committee welcomed the State party’s efforts to combat racial discrimination such as the Office of the Inspector of Journalists’Ethics in countering hate speech and the Law on Compensation for Violent Crimes, it identified the need for further measures. On legal and institutional measures, the Committee encouraged the State party to incorporate the definition of racial discrimination in line with Article 1 of ICERD, swiftly adopt the draft law on national minorities, and increase resources for the Seimas Ombudsmen’s Office and the Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson. The State party was requested to provide disaggregated data of population including people of African descent. The Committee shared its concerns with the State party about racist hate speech in offline and online, including racist hate speech against migrants and Muslims during election campaigns. Regarding hate crimes and acts of racial discrimination, the State party was requested to provide detailed information on training of law enforcement officers, compensations for victims of non-violent crimes, the reversal of burden of proof and consideration of racial discrimination as an aggravating circumstance to crime. The situation of Roma people drew the Committee’s attention, in particular their access to secondary and higher education and health services. The State party was asked about the treatment of refugees and asylum-seekers such as the capacity of reception centres and the access to social security, The Committee encouraged the State party to accelerate the efforts to reduce and end statelessness. Read more (EnglishFrench). In its concluding observations , the Committee issued recommendations concerning following areas:

  • Statistics;
  • National human rights institutions;
  • Definition of racial discrimination;
  • Hate speech and incitement to hatred*;
  • Prosecution of racially motivated crimes;
  • Reparations for victims of racially motivated crimes;
  • Situation of Roma;
  • Law on national minorities*;
  • Asylum-seekers*;
  • Integration of refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection; and
  • Stateless persons.



The Committee considered the combined 17th-19th periodic reports in the absence of the State party delegation from the capital. The State party was requested to provide responses and additional information in writing. The Committee asked the State party to provide information missing in the periodic reports such as up-to-date data of population disaggregated by nationality, ethnicity and language, the situation of indigenous peoples including San, outcomes of the new law on human trafficking, and handling of land issues. The State party was encouraged to strengthen its legal framework by adopting the definition of racial discrimination in line with Article 1 of ICERD and enacting a law on equality and discrimination. On complaints of racial discrimination including in the labour market, the Committee asked the State party’s efforts to ensure victims’ access to justice such as the reversal of burden of proof and consideration of racial discrimination as an aggravating circumstance to crime. The State party was asked to share progress in prosecution and convictions of perpetrators of hate crimes against migrants during the xenophobic riots in recent years. On business and human rights, the Committee raised concerns on reports of racial discrimination against black employees and migrants in farms and the mining industry. The Committee expressed concerns on reports of discrimination against people with albinism in employment, health, education and other areas. The State party was encouraged to strengthen its national human rights institution (NHRI) to engage with the UN human rights mechanisms. The Committee asked the State party about a plan to increase the access to education for vulnerable groups as well as human rights education to promote diversity and mutual-understandings. Read more (EnglishFrench). In its concluding observations , the Committee issued recommendations concerning following areas:

  • Data collection;
  • Application of the Convention in domestic legislation;
  • Definition of racial discrimination;
  • National human rights institution;
  • Complaints of racial discrimination and remedies;
  • Hate crime and hate speech;
  • Access to legal aid;
  • Special measures to address inequalities;
  • Harmful practices;
  • Situation of San and Khoe peoples;
  • Education;
  • Situation of persons with albinism*;
  • Trafficking in persons*; and
  • Refugees and asylum-seekers.

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