Report of States Parties submitted under Article 9 of the Convention; Eleventh periodic reports of States parties due in 2003; Addendum; Portugal [CERD/C/447/Add.1]
10 December 2004
Concluding observations of the
Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination : Portugal.
COMMITTEE ON THE
OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES
UNDER ARTICLE 9 OF THE CONVENTION
Concluding observations of the Committee on
Elimination of Racial Discrimination
1. The Committee considered the tenth
and eleventh periodic reports of Portugal, submitted as one document
(CERD/C/447/Add.1), at its 1660th and 1661st meetings (CERD/C/SR.1660 and 1661).
At its 1670th meeting (CERD/C/SR.1670), held on 19 August 2004, it adopted the
following concluding observations.
2. The Committee welcomes the
timely submission of the report by the State party, the additional oral and
written information provided by the delegation as well as the constructive
responses provided to the questions asked. However, the Committee notes that the
structure of the report does not fully comply with its reporting guidelines.
B. Positive aspects
3. The Committee welcomes
the enactment of Decree Law 251/2002 of 22 November 2002 which, inter alia,
enlarges the structure and competencies of the Office of the High Commissioner
for Immigration and Ethnic Minorities and establishes the Advisory Board for
Immigration Affairs, tasked with ensuring the participation of associations
representative of immigrants, employers' associations and social solidarity
institutions in the elaboration of policies promoting social integration and
4. The Committee welcomes the fact that the financial budget of the Office of
the High Commissioner for Immigration and Ethnic Minorities has recently been
5. The Committee notes with appreciation the work performed by the Office of
Multiculturalism, especially in promoting numerous programmes and projects in
the field of education in respect of children belonging to ethnic minorities, in
6. The Committee also welcomes the several mechanisms established to assist
immigrants in Portugal, such as the Observatory of Immigration, the Call Centre
"SOS Immigrant" and the local and national support centres for immigrants.
7. The Committee further notes with satisfaction the prohibition, as a result
of the fourth revision of the Constitution, of racist organizations
(organizations adopting a fascist ideology having already been banned).
C. Concerns and recommendations
Committee notes the absence of statistical data on the ethnic composition of the
population owing to the State party's legislation, which prohibits the
collection of data and statistics on race and ethnicity.
The Committee is of the opinion that, if progress in eliminating
racial discrimination based on race, colour, descent, and national and
ethnic origin is to be monitored, some indication is needed of the number of
persons who could suffer discrimination on these grounds. The Committee
therefore recommends that, in line with paragraph 8 of the reporting
guidelines, the State party provide information on the use of mother tongue
as indicative of ethnic differences, together with information derived from
targeted social surveys performed on a voluntary basis and in full respect
of the privacy and anonymity of the individuals concerned.
While noting the efforts undertaken by the State party to counter racially
motivated violence and discrimination, the Committee continues to be concerned
that racially motivated acts and incitement to hatred continue to occur and that
intolerance and de facto discrimination, in particular towards ethnic
minorities, persist. Furthermore, the Committee is concerned about the
activities of the National Renovation Party, which targets immigrants in its
manifestos and campaigns.
The Committee recommends that the Government pursue and intensify its
efforts to eradicate all incitement to, and acts of, racial discrimination.
In this respect, in light of its general recommendation XXX, the Committee
recommends that the State party introduce in its criminal law a provision to
the effect that committing an offence with racist motivation or aim
constitutes an aggravating circumstance. The Committee would also appreciate
more detailed information on the procedure applicable to and the authorities
competent to deal with cases of organizations reported to be
10. The Committee expresses concern about allegations
it has received of instances of police misconduct towards ethnic minorities or
persons of non-Portuguese origin, including excessive use of force,
ill-treatment and violence.
The Committee recommends that the State party investigate thoroughly,
impartially and effectively all allegations of ill-treatment, violence or
excessive use of force by police officers, bring those responsible to
justice and provide adequate remedies and compensation to the victims.
Furthermore, in light of its general recommendation XIII, the Committee
recommends that the State party continue to provide intensive training to
law enforcement officials so as to ensure that in the performance of their
duties they respect and protect human dignity and maintain and uphold the
human rights of all persons without distinction as to race, colour, descent,
or national or ethnic origin.
11. The Committee notes that
immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe are reportedly more easily accepted
and integrated into Portuguese mainstream society than other immigrants,
especially Africans. The Committee expresses concern that this phenomenon of
"two-speed" integration may result in de facto discrimination against certain
groups of immigrants.
The Committee recommends that the State party take all possible
measures to promote and ensure the enjoyment of equal opportunities to all
immigrants in the country, irrespective of their origin.
The Committee is concerned about the relative isolation of some groups of
immigrants and members of ethnic minorities in marginalized neighbourhoods or
areas and their difficult situation in respect of housing conditions.
The Committee encourages the State party to continue taking measures
to avoid the marginalization of some groups of immigrants and members of
ethnic minorities in ghetto-like neighbourhoods and guarantee the equal
enjoyment of the right to adequate housing to all.
13. While the Committee notes the measures taken by the State party to
improve the situation of Roma/gypsies, it remains concerned about the
difficulties faced by many members of this community in the fields of
employment, housing and education, as well as reported cases of discrimination
in daily life. The Committee also invites the State party to take more
effectively into account, in all programmes and projects planned and implemented
and in all measures adopted, the situation of Roma/gypsy women, who are often
victims of double discrimination.
The Committee urges the State party to continue taking special
measures in accordance with article 2, paragraph 2, of the Convention to
ensure the adequate protection of Roma/gypsies and to promote equal
opportunities for the full enjoyment of their economic, social and cultural
14. The Committee notes the new rules for family reunification
following the recent enactment of new legislative provisions governing the
entry, stay, departure and removal of aliens from the national territory.
The Committee recommends that the State party take measures to
facilitate family reunification of immigrants in a regular situation.
Furthermore, the Committee invites the State party to consider signing and
ratifying the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of
All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.
Committee is concerned about the non-suspensive effect of appeal in the
admissibility phase of the asylum procedure, which may result in creating an
irreversible situation, even if the decision of the administrative authorities
were to be overturned on appeal.
The Committee urges the State party to guarantee respect for the
legal safeguards for asylum-seekers and to ensure that its asylum law and
procedures conform to its international obligations in this field.
16. The Committee strongly recommends that the State party ratify the
amendments to article 8, paragraph 6, of the Convention, adopted on 15 January
1992 at the Fourteenth Meeting of States Parties to the Convention and endorsed
by the General Assembly in its resolution 47/111. In this connection, the
Committee refers to General Assembly resolution 57/194, in which the Assembly
strongly urged States parties to accelerate their domestic ratification
procedures with regard to the amendment and to notify the Secretary-General
expeditiously in writing of their agreement to the amendment. A similar appeal
was reiterated by the Assembly in resolution 58/160.
17. The Committee recommends that the State party take into account the
relevant parts of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action when
implementing the Convention in the domestic legal order, in particular in
respect of articles 2 to 7 of the Convention, and that it include in its next
periodic report information on action plans or other measures it has taken to
implement the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action at the national level.
18. The Committee encourages the State party to continue consulting with
organizations of civil society working in the area of combating racial
discrimination during the preparation of the next periodic report.
19. The Committee recommends that the State party's reports be made readily
available to the public from the time they are submitted and that the
observations of the Committee on these reports be similarly publicized.
20. The Committee recommends that the State party submit its twelfth and
thirteenth periodic reports jointly, due on 23 September 2007, and that it
address therein all points raised in the present concluding observations.
Office of the United
Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights