UN committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
“The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination by its State parties.” (CERD Website, http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/index.htm, accessed on 28 October 2008)
The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination obliges its States parties to abide by the following norms and regulations, which are listed in part 1 of the Convention:
“Part 1 (Articles 1 - 7) commits parties to the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination and to promoting understanding among all races (Article 2). Parties are obliged to not discriminate on the basis of race, not to sponsor or defend racism, and to prohibit racial discrimination within their jurisdictions. They must also review their laws and policies to ensure that they do not discriminate on the basis of race, and commit to amending or repealing those which do. Specific areas in which discrimination must be eliminated are listed in Article 5.
The Convention imposes a specific commitment on parties to eradicate racial segregation and the crime of apartheid within their jurisdictions (Article 3). Parties are also required to criminalise the incitement of racial hatred (Article 4), to ensure judicial remedies for acts of racial discrimination (Article 6), and to engage in public education to promote understanding and tolerance (Article 7).” (Wikipedia: Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convention_on_the_Elimination_of_All_Forms_of_Racial_Discrimination, accessed on 28 October 2008)
States parties (states’ governments), NGOs active in the field of the elimination of racial discrimination, civil society, international community
“The treaty bodies perform a number of functions aimed at monitoring how the treaties are being implemented by States parties. All treaty bodies are mandated to receive and consider reports submitted regularly by State parties detailing their implementation of the treaty provisions in the country concerned. They issue guidelines to assist States with the preparation of their reports, elaborate general comments interpreting the treaty provisions and organize discussions on themes related to the treaties.” (OHCHR: Fact Sheet No. 30, The United Nations Human Rights Treaty System - An introduction to the core human rights treaties and the treaty bodies, undated, p. 24, http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/docs/OHCHR-FactSheet30.pdf, accessed on 28 October 2008)
“In addition to the reporting procedure, the Convention establishes three other mechanisms through which the Committee performs its monitoring functions: the early-warning procedure, the examination of inter-state complaints and the examination of individual complaints. […] The Committee also publishes its interpretation of the content of human rights provisions, known as general recommendations (or general comments), on thematic issues and organizes thematic discussions.” (CERD Website, http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/index.htm, accessed on 28 October 2008)
Scope of reporting:
Geographic focus: all States parties
Thematic focus: various forms of and state action against racial discrimination (policies, legislation and jurisdiction, incitement of racial hatred and acts of racial discrimination, public education to promote understanding and tolerance)
“[…] B. The Committee's relations with national human rights institutions and non-governmental organizations: (a) Accredited national human rights institutions, on the one hand, and non-governmental organizations, on the other hand, may provide information on issues relating to the consideration of reports of States parties […]
D. Early-warning measures and urgent procedures. The Committee may decide to set up a working group to consider the status of implementation of its decisions and recommendations under the early-warning measures and urgent procedures and to make suggestions in this respect.
[…] G. Reports of States parties. In order to facilitate the work of the Committee, States parties are once again requested to ensure that the reports correspond strictly to the provisions of the Convention and that they are drafted in accordance with the guidelines adopted by the Committee. States parties are invited to submit reports that are as succinct and concise as possible.
H. Presence of the delegation of the State party. The relevance and effectiveness of the dialogue that the Committee holds with States parties concerning the reports before it are reinforced by the presence of a delegation whose members have competence in the matters covered in the report and, in general, for the implementation of the Convention. […]
I. Introductory presentation by the State party's representative. The representative of the State party, when introducing the report to be considered, is invited to draw the Committee's attention to the most important aspects of the document and also to provide additional information concerning new data or aspects that are not reflected in the report, concentrating on matters relating to the Committee's mandate. This presentation should not exceed 30 minutes.
J. Action of country rapporteurs. The country rapporteurs, in presentations that should also not exceed 30 minutes, must highlight aspects relevant to the fulfilment of the obligations arising under the Convention, and also those where shortcomings or deficiencies are apparent. They will also put questions aimed at supplementing the information received and ensuring greater clarity or precision with respect to the information received. These questions may be conveyed to the State party beforehand. […]
M. The Committee's concluding observations. The members of the Committee are advised to review carefully the draft concluding observations presented by the country rapporteur and to pass on their amendments or suggestions to the rapporteur, who is responsible for revising the text. […]
N. Written comments by the State party. Under article 9 of the Convention, States parties are entitled to make comments on the suggestions or recommendations made by the Committee after the consideration of the report concerned, and such comments must be included in the annual report of the Committee to the General Assembly.
T. Missions by members of the Committee to States parties. The members of the Committee stand ready to undertake missions to States parties, with the consent of the Government of the State party concerned, in order to assist where their presence would be useful in facilitating better implementation of the Convention.” (CERD Website, http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/workingmethods.htm, accessed on 28 October 2008)
The CERD “consists of 18 independent human rights experts, elected for four-year terms, with half the members elected every two years. […] All parties are required to submit regular reports to the Committee outlining the legislative, judicial, policy and other measures they have taken to give effect to the Convention. The first report is due within a year of the Convention entering into effect for that state; thereafter reports are due every two years or whenever the Committee requests. The Committee examines each report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the state party in the form of "concluding observations". The Committee typically meets every March and August in Geneva.” (Wikipedia: Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convention_on_the_Elimination_of_All_Forms_of_Racial_Discrimination, accessed on 28 October 2008)
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Navigation of website:
In order to access States parties reports, NGO reports and concluding observations, follow the link “Sessions” in the menu on the left-hand side of the homepage; choose the session that includes the country searched for; State Reports, Written Replies, Delegation Statements, Lists of Issues, Information from other sources and Concluding Observations are to be found next to the country name and flag in the table titled “Consideration of State Reports”.
OHCHR – Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights: Fact Sheet No. 30, The United Nations Human Rights Treaty System - An introduction to the core human rights treaties and the treaty bodies, undated
Wikipedia: Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination