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NINETY-FOURTH SESSION OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION TO BE HELD IN GENEVA FROM 20 NOVEMBER TO 8 DECEMBER

16 November 2017

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination will hold its ninety-fourth session at the Palais Wilson in Geneva from 20 November to 8 December, during which it will review the implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in Serbia, Algeria, Jordan, Australia, Slovakia and Belarus.

At the opening of the session on Monday, 20 November, the Committee will adopt its agenda and programme of work, and it will hold a dialogue with United Nations entities in a closed meeting.

The consideration of the six country reports will take place on the following dates: Serbia on 21 and 22 November; Algeria on 22 and 23 November; Jordan on 23 and 24 November; Australia on 27 and 28 November; Slovakia on 28 and 29 November; and Belarus on 30 November and 1 December.

In addition to considering the reports, the Committee will hold public informal meetings with non-governmental organizations that will brief the Committee on the situation in the countries whose reports will be considered. In the afternoon of Wednesday, 29 November, the Committee will hold a thematic discussion “Racial Discrimination Today.”

In closed meetings, the Committee will consider communications received under article 14 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, as well as intersessional activities.

The reports and other documents before the Committee, including the programme of work, are accessible on the session webpage.

The Committee’s dialogues with the delegations will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Palais Wilson and will be webcast live. Summaries of the public meetings, in English and in French, will be available on the United Nations Office at Geneva news and media page.

Serbia is presenting the combined second to fifth periodic reports (CERD/C/SRB/2-5); the Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on its initial report, discussed in February 2011, are available here: CERD/C/SRB/CO/1.

Algeria is presenting its combined twentieth and twenty-first periodic reports (CERD/C/DZA/20-21). The Committee’s concluding observations on the combined fifteenth to nineteenth report, reviewed in February 2013, are available in this document: CERD/C/DZA/CO/15-19.

Jordan is presenting the combined eighteenth to twentieth periodic report (CERD/C/JOR/18-20). Its combined thirteenth to seventeenth periodic report was considered in March 2012 and the concluding observations can be read here: CERD/C/JOR/CO/13-17.

Australia is presenting its combined eighteenth to twentieth periodic report (CERD/C/AUS/18-20). The concluding observations on the combined fifteenth to seventeenth periodic report, which the Committee considered in August 2010, can be found here: CERD/C/AUS/CO/15-17.

Slovakia is presenting its combined eleventh to twelfth periodic report (CERD/C/SVK/11-12). Its combined ninth to tenth periodic report were considered in February 2013 and the concluding observations can be read here: CERD/C/SVK/CO/9-10.

Belarus is presenting the combined twentieth to twenty-third periodic report (CERD/C/BLR/20-23); the Committee’s concluding observations and recommendations on its combined eighteenth to nineteenth periodic report, discussed in August 2013, are available here: CERD/C/BLR/CO/18-19.

The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination is the longest established of the main human rights treaties which marked its fiftieth anniversary last year. Its 178 States parties commit themselves to ending all forms of racial discrimination, which the Convention defined as any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.

The Committee, an 18-person expert body, monitors compliance with the Convention. It assesses to what extent each State party is meeting its obligations, and makes recommendations for the implementation of the Convention.

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 21 December 1965, is the longest established of the main human rights treaties.

The Convention entered into force on 4 January 1969. It defines racial discrimination as any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.

By signing up to the Convention, States parties commit themselves to condemn racial discrimination and to pursue, by all appropriate means and without delay, policies of eliminating racial discrimination in all its forms and promoting understanding among all races. To that end, each State party undertakes not to engage in any act or practice of racial discrimination against persons, groups of persons or institutions and to ensure that all public authorities and public institutions, national and local, shall act in conformity with this obligation; not to sponsor, defend or support racial discrimination by any persons or organizations; to take effective measures to review governmental, national and local policies, and to amend, rescind or nullify any laws and regulations which have the effect of creating or perpetuating racial discrimination wherever it exists; to prohibit and bring to an end, by all appropriate means, including legislation as required by circumstances, racial discrimination by any persons, group or organization; to encourage, where appropriate, integrationist multiracial organizations and movements and other means of eliminating barriers between races, and to discourage anything which tends to strengthen racial division.

In accordance with article 4, States parties also undertake to condemn all propaganda and all organizations which are based on ideas or theories of superiority of one race or group of persons of one colour or ethnic origin, or which attempt to justify or promote racial hatred and discrimination in any form, and undertake to adopt immediate and positive measures designed to eradicate all incitement to, or acts of, such discrimination. States parties, by virtue of article 9, undertake to submit a report on the legislative, judicial, administrative or other measures which they have adopted and which give effect to the provisions of this Convention. To ensure the implementation and the respect of their obligations under the Convention by States parties, the Convention establishes the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to examine the reports presented by State parties.
In addition, as provided in article 14, a State party may at any time declare that it recognizes the competence of the Committee to receive and consider communications from individuals or groups of individuals within its jurisdiction claiming to be victims of a violation by that State party of any of the rights set forth in this Convention. No communication shall be received by the Committee if it concerns a State party that has not made such a declaration. To date 57 State parties have made a declaration under this article.

States Parties to the Convention

As of October 2017, the following 178 States are parties to the Convention: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Holy See, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Republic of Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, State of Palestine, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States of America, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, 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 State 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 58 State parties have already done so: Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Ukraine, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Membership of the Committee

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination is made up of the following 18 independent experts: Noureddine Amir (Algeria); Alexei Avtonomov (Russian Federation); Marc Bossuyt (Belgium); Jose Francisco Cali Tzay (Guatemala); Anastasia Crickley (Ireland); Fatimata-Binta Victoire Dah (Burkina Faso); Afiwa-Kindena Hohoueto (Togo); Anwar Kemal (Pakistan); Melhem Khalaf (Lebanon); Gun Kut (Turkey); Jose A. Lindgren Alves (Brazil); Nicolás Marugán (Spain); Gay McDougall (United States); Yemhelhe Mint Mohamed (Mauritania); Pastor Elias Murillo Martinez (Colombia); Verene Albertha Sheperd (Jamaica); Yanduan Li (China); and Yeung Kam John Yeung Sik Yuen (Mauritius).

Ms. Crickley is the Chairperson. The Vice Chairpersons are Mr. Amir, Mr. Cali Tzay and Mr. Khalaf. Mr. Avtonomov is the Rapporteur.

Proposed Programme of Work

Monday, 20 November
10 a.m. Opening of the session, adoption of the agenda
Noon Closed meeting
3 p.m. Closed meeting

Tuesday, 21 November
10 a.m. Informal meeting with non-governmental organizations from Serbia, Algeria and
Jordan
3 p.m. Consideration of Serbia (CERD/C/SRB/2-5)

Wednesday, 22 November
10 a.m. Consideration of Serbia (continued)
3 p.m. Consideration of Algeria (CERD/C/DZA/20-21)

Thursday, 23 November
10 a.m. Consideration of Algeria (continued)
3 p.m. Consideration of Jordan (CERD/C/JOR/18-20)

Friday, 24 November
10 a.m. Consideration of Jordan (continued)
3 p.m. Closed meeting

Monday, 27 November
10 a.m. Informal meeting with non-governmental organizations from Australia, Slovakia and Belarus
3 p.m. Consideration of Australia (CERD/C/AUS/18-20)

Tuesday, 28 November
10 a.m. Consideration of Australia (continued)

3 p.m. Consideration of Slovakia (CERD/C/SVK/11-12)


Wednesday, 29 November
10 a.m. Consideration of Slovakia (continued)
3 p.m. Thematic discussion: Racial Discrimination Today

Thursday, 30 November
10 a.m. Closed meeting
3 p.m. Consideration of Belarus (CERD/C/BLR/20-23)

Friday, 1 December
10 a.m. Consideration of Belarus (continued)
3 p.m. Closed meeting

Monday, 4 December
Closed meetings

Tuesday, 5 December
Closed meetings

Wednesday, 6 December
Closed meetings

Thursday, 7 December
Closed meetings

Friday, 8 December
10 a.m. Closed meeting
3 p.m. Public closing of the session


For use of the information media; not an official record

CERD..17.028E