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UN: CERD adopted concluding observations on the Czech Republic, El Salvador, Iceland, Mexico, Mongolia, Poland and the State of Palestine

Date : 2019.08.30

On the 29th of August, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) concluded its 99th session. At the session, CERD adopted concluding observations on the Czech Republic, El Salvador, Iceland, Mexico, Mongolia, Poland and the State of Palestine. *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 .

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.

On inter-state communications , the Committee adopted decisions that it has jurisdictions regarding the communications submitted by Qatar against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and against the United Arab Emirates. It declared the two communications admissible. The Chairperson of the Committee will appoint an ad hoc Conciliation Commission as provided by Article 12.

The Committee decided to postpone its consideration of the issue of the jurisdiction regarding the inter-state communication submitted by the State of Palestine against Israel to the 100th session.

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Czech Republic

The Committee welcomed the State party’s legislative and institutional measures to combat racial discrimination such as the Anti-Discrimination Act and the establishment of the Public Defender of Rights, and it encouraged the State party to further strengthen such frameworks. The Committee noted the Roma Integration Strategy but expressed concerns that Roma remain disadvantaged in socio-economic status such as in employment, housing, education, health and the life expectancy rate. The Committee encouraged the State party to set up a special compensation mechanism for forcibly sterilised Roma women, in addition to the existing court procedure. The Committee was concerned that Roma children continue to be sent to special schools, due to prejudice of non-Roma parents. The Committee encouraged the State party to consider adopting special measures for minorities including Roma. The Committee was alarmed by the increase of anti-Semitic incidents, and it encouraged the State party to ensure full police investigations into racist hate crimes. The State party was asked about measures to counter racist hate speech including by high ranking officials. On migration, the Committee drew its attention to the number of unaccompanied minors in detention, migrant women’s access to health care, in particular antenatal care as well as trafficking in human beings. The Committee welcomed the State party’s efforts to tackle racism in sports such as fines on fans for acts of racial hatred. Read more (English/ French). In its concluding observations , the Committee issued recommendations concerning following areas:

  • Statistics;
  • Anti-discrimination legislation;
  • National Human Rights Institution*;
  • Racist hate speech;
  • Racially motivated crimes;
  • Situation of Roma*;
  • Segregation of Roma children and access of Roma children to education;
  • Forced sterilization of Roma women*;
  • Detention of asylum-seekers;
  • Access of migrants to healthcare;
  • Access of refugees to pensions;
  • Stateless persons and prevention of statelessness; and
  • Trafficking in persons.

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El Salvador

The Committee acknowledged the adoption of the National Plan for Indigenous Peoples (PLANPIES) and the submission of the draft bill on the rights of indigenous peoples in 2018. However, the Committee remained concerned by the human rights situation of indigenous peoples in El Salvador such as their access to health care, education, ancestral land and natural resources as well as their participation in decision-making concerning climate change and SDGs. The Committee inquired the State party’s compliance with the principle of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC). The State party was requested to provide information on measures to tackle intersecting forms of discrimination against indigenous women including impacts of the criminalisation of abortion. The Committee expressed concerns that indigenous peoples and people of African-descent are disproportionately affected by poverty which exposes them to the high risk of child labour. The Committee welcomed the State party’s intention to designate a national day for people of African descent and inquired the State party’s progress in making constitutional amendment to recognise the group and its impacts. On legal framework, the State party was encouraged to adopt a definition of racial discrimination in line with the Convention and ratify the ILO Convention No. 169 on indigenous peoples. The Committee regretted the absence of the national human rights institution (NHRI) in the examination in Geneva. The Committee noted with concern on the lack of information on racist hate speech and hate crimes in the State party’s report. It urged the State party to train law enforcement and other officials to properly handle complaints of racial discrimination. The State party was asked to provide information on the situation of undocumented migrants and discrimination against migrants. Read more (English/ French). In its concluding observations , the Committee issued recommendations concerning following areas:

  • Statistical data and population census;
  • Definition of racial discrimination;
  • Prohibition of racial discrimination;
  • Institutional framework to combat racial discrimination;
  • Structural discrimination;
  • Situation of people of African descent*;
  • Legal framework on the rights of indigenous peoples*;
  • Lands, territories and natural resources;
  • Participation, prior consultation and free, prior and informed consent;
  • Cultural rights of indigenous peoples;
  • Situation of indigenous and Afro-descendant women;
  • Situation of internally displaced persons, migrants and other non-citizens;
  • Complaints before the judicial system;
  • Implementation of decisions on the protection of human rights; and
  • Education and intercultural health.

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Iceland

While the Committee welcomed the State party’s initiative to strengthen the Icelandic Human Rights Centre to be an independent national human rights institution (NHRI) in line with the Paris Principles, it encouraged the State party to adopt comprehensive anti-discrimination law and incorporate the ICERD’s provisions into domestic legal order. The Committee reiterated the recommendations from the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) that the penal code should include a racist motive as an aggravating circumstance. The State party was advised to remove its legal requirement for repetition to handle complaints on racist hate speech. The Committee noted the significant rise in the number of foreigners in Iceland which increased from 2.6% of the total population in 2000 to 10.8% in 2016. The State party was asked to provide data on migrants’ employment disaggregated by gender and immigration status. On asylum-seekers and refugees, the Committee asked the State party for information on their access to housing and language classes as well as the recognition rate of asylum applications. The Committee inquired the outreach of the National Action Plan against domestic and sexual violence against women to the situation of migrant women. The State party was requested to provide information concerning trafficking in human beings and support services for victims. The State party was recommended to strengthen its efforts to punish traffickers. The Committee commended the establishment of a multicultural centre for migrants in the capital in August 2019 as recommended by ECRI. The State party was encouraged to adopt measures to commemorate the International Decade of People for African Descent. Read more (English/ French). In its concluding observations , the Committee issued recommendations concerning following areas:

  • Grounds of racial discrimination;
  • Incorporation of the Convention in the domestic legal order;
  • Racist motive as an aggravating circumstance*;
  • National human rights institution*;
  • Racist hate speech;
  • Racist hate crimes;
  • Trafficking in persons;
  • Situation of non-citizens, including migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees; and
  • Violence against minority and migrant women.

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Mexico

Although it acknowledged the steps taken by the State party to combat racial discrimination, the Committee remained concerned by the human rights situation of indigenous peoples, people of African-descent and migrants in Mexico. The Committee was alarmed by reports of human rights violations experienced by those groups such as enforced disappearances, hate crimes, criminalisation and attacks against human rights defenders and journalists belonging to those communities as well as impunity for such crimes. Their socio-economic status was also discussed such as the access to education and health, and the higher poverty rate than the average. The State party’s varying definitions of indigenous peoples and compliance with the principle of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) were inquired. The Committee raised concerns on intersectional forms of discrimination against indigenous women such as their overrepresentation in prison, forced sterilisations, and disproportionate impacts of the austerity measures. While the recent official recognition of the identity of Afro-Mexican people was welcomed, the Committee inquired about its practical implications. The impact of climate change on indigenous peoples and people of African-descent drew the Committee’s attention including forced evictions. On business and human rights, the State party was asked to mitigate negative impacts of corporate activities on the racially discriminated communities. The Committee shared concerns with the State party on the situation of migrants such as racial profiling, arbitrary detention, racist hate speech, deployment of the National Guard to the boarder, and labour exploitation including in domestic work. On the justice system, disaggregated data on prison population, translation services, the availability of legal aid for victims of racial discrimination and training for law enforcement officers were inquired. The Committee requested the State party to provide further details about human rights education measures to combat racism and discrimination including bullying at school. Read more (English/ French). In its concluding observations , the Committee issued recommendations concerning following areas:

  • Data collection;
  • Definition of racial discrimination;
  • Racial hatred and incitement to racial discrimination*;
  • Institutionality;
  • Fight against racial discrimination;
  • Discrimination against Afro-Mexicans;
  • Situation of indigenous peoples;
  • Free, prior and informed consent*;
  • Lands, territories and resources of indigenous peoples;
  • Multiple forms of discrimination;
  • Discrimination in the justice system;
  • Freedom of expression;
  • Human rights defenders*;
  • Working conditions; and
  • Migrants, asylum seekers and refugees.

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Mongolia

While welcoming legislative developments in the country including the criminalisation of discrimination, the Committee encouraged the State party to ensure effective implementation of relevant legal provision and the Convention via training of law enforcement officers and the judiciary. The Committee asked how a discriminatory conduct by police can be reported and handled properly. On hate crimes, the Committee further inquired if a racist motive is considered as an aggravating circumstance to a crime. Investigations into members of ultra-nationalist groups drew the Committee’s attention. The Committee inquired about the criteria for addressing racist hate speech. The State party was requested to provide disaggregated data including on poverty and social security. The Committee inquired the situation of indigenous Tsaatan (Dukha) people such as their access to health care and higher proportion of persons with disability. The Committee was particularly alarmed by reports that business projects including mining activities often did not have free, prior and informed consents (FPICs) from indigenous Tsaatan people, and their rights had been violated such as the rights to land, natural resources, water, and environmental rights. The State party was encouraged to ratify the ILO Convention No. 169 on indigenous peoples. The quality of bilingual education in minority languages was questioned for its effectiveness for accessing higher education. The State party was asked what steps it had taken to preserve endangered indigenous and minority languages such as Tuvan and Tsaatan. The Committee shared concerns on reports of labour exploitation of migrant workers, in particular those from China and DPRK. Read more (English/ French). In its concluding observations , the Committee issued recommendations concerning following areas:

  • Data collection;
  • Anti-discrimination legislation;
  • National human rights institution;
  • Racist hate speech;
  • Organizations that promote racial discrimination;
  • Asylum seekers, refugees and stateless persons;
  • Migrant workers;
  • Ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples*;
  • Situation of the Tsaatan (Dukha) people*;
  • Mining; and
  • Access to remedies.

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Poland

The Committee commended the significant role played by its national human rights institution (NHRI), Commissioner for Human Rights, but it expressed concerns on the insufficient cooperation of the State party with the NHRI to address incidents of racist hate speech, especially anti-refugee campaigns. The State party was questioned about the lack of actions to combat racist organisations including the penalisation of the membership to such organisations. The Committee was alarmed by reports that institutional and legal frameworks to protect human rights had dramatically been weakened since 2015 including the independence of judiciary and civil society space. For instance, the Committee raised a concern on the termination of the training programme for the judiciary on hate crimes as well as dismantling of the Council on Prevention of Racial Discrimination. The Committee also noted with concern on the low level of reporting rate for hate crimes. The Committee asked the State party if it plans to design a new National Action Plan for Equal Treatment in consultation with civil society. On minorities, the State party was requested to provide information on their access to education in minority languages, representation in media and other institutions. The Committee raised a number of questions on the situation of Roma including their access to higher education, participation in decision-making and activities to commemorate Roma Holocaust Memorial Day. The State party was asked to share impacts of its human rights education in combatting stereotypes and promote mutual understandings. On migrants, the Committee posed various questions such as alternatives to detention, compliance with the principle of non-refoulement, labour inspections and other measures against exploitation. The Committee was concerned by reports that migrant women with irregular status lack access to health care, in particular antenatal care. The Committee requested the State party to share concrete outcomes of the National Action Plan Against Trafficking in Human Beings. Read more (English/ French). In its concluding observations , the Committee issued recommendations concerning following areas:

  • Statistics;
  • Anti-discrimination legislation;
  • National human rights institution*;
  • Institutional framework*;
  • Policy framework;
  • Racist hate speech and hate crimes*;
  • Prohibition of organizations that promote racial discrimination*;
  • Prosecution of racially motivated crimes;
  • Situation of Roma; and
  • Situation of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.

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State of Palestine

The Committee welcomed the first appearance of the State party after its ratification in 2014 as well as recognising the Committee’s competence to receive individual communications. The Committee requested the State party to provide information on the function of the justice system in addressing racial discrimination cases. While the Committee noted the difficulty in collecting data, it requested the State party to present disaggregated statistics in order to comprehend the human rights situation of minorities and migrants including persons of African-descent. The Committee was particularly interested in minorities’ representation in media and public institutions. The Committee noted with concerns that Bedouins are not included in the list of minorities recognised by the State party. Due to the lack of information on Roma and Circassians in the State party’s report, the Committee requested for information on their enjoyment of human rights. The State party was recommended to amend the penal code to punish racial discrimination. The Committee asked the State party about incidents of racist hate speech including existing cases and an institution responsible for handling complaints. The State party was requested to provide information on measures to combat trafficking in human beings and remedies for victims. The Committee drew its attention to education including the access by different ethno-religious groups and human rights education to promote mutual understandings. The State party was asked to share information the situation of human rights defenders and journalists belonging to minority groups including those imprisoned. Read more (English/ French). In its concluding observations , the Committee issued recommendations concerning following areas:

  • Statistics;
  • Convention in the domestic legal order*;
  • Prohibition of racial discrimination;
  • Harmonization of legislation and compliance with the Convention*;
  • National human rights institution;
  • Complaints of racial discrimination;
  • Racist hate speech and hate crimes*;
  • Situation of ethno-religious and national minorities;
  • Minorities in public and political life;
  • Migrant domestic workers;
  • Situation of minority women; and
  • Nationality.

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