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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
22 February 1996


Background Release              RD/843
                   22 February 1996



  GENEVA, 19  February (UN  Information Service)  -- The  measures taken  by
Zimbabwe, Russian  Federation, Colombia,  Denmark, United  Kingdom, Finland,
Hungary,  Spain  and  Venezuela to  combat  racial  discrimination  will  be
considered by the Committee on the  Elimination of Racial Discrimination  at
its  forty-eighth session,  to be  held at  Geneva from  26 February  to  15

  These   countries  are  among   the  146   States  parties   to  the  1969
International  Convention   on  the  Elimination  of  All  Forms  of  Racial
Discrimination.   The 18-member  Committee, the  first body  created by  the
United Nations to review actions by  States in fulfilling their  obligations
under  a  specific  human  rights  agreement,  examines  reports   submitted
periodically  by  States parties  on their  compliance with  the Convention.
Representatives of the  Governments are  invited to introduce their  country
reports and respond to questions from Committee members.

  The panel  of experts  is also  scheduled to  discuss the  reports of  the
following  States  parties,  whose  reports  have  been  deemed  excessively
overdue: Madagascar,  Cambodia, India,  Pakistan, Panama, Nepal,  Swaziland,
Guinea, Gambia and Cote d'Ivoire.

  With  regard  to prevention  of  racial  discrimination,  including  early
warning and urgent procedures, the Committee  may consider the situation  in
which information has  been requested  under paragraph 1,  article 9 of  the
Convention.   According to that paragraph,  States parties  are to undertake
to submit  to the Secretary-General, for  consideration by  the Committee, a
report on  the legislative, judicial, administrative or other measures which
they  have  adopted  and  which  give  effect  to  the  provisions  of  this
Convention within one year after the entry into force of the Convention  for
the State  concerned  and, thereafter,  every  two  years and  whenever  the
Committee so requests.

  In addition to  considering States  parties' reports,  the Committee  will
examine,  in closed session, communications from individuals  claiming to be
victims  of racial discrimination.   Only  complaints against  the 22 States
parties that have recognized the competence  of the Committee under  Article
14 of the Convention are admissible.

             -  -    Press Release RD/843
                 22 February 1996

  Submission of Reports

  Under  article  9 of  the Convention,  States undertake  to report  to the
Committee on legal,  judicial and other measures they have adopted to ensure
effective   protection   against   racial   discrimination   within    their
jurisdiction. States parties to the Convention agree  to:  condemn and  seek
to  eliminate  racial discrimination  in  their  territories;  review  their
policies  in order  to amend  or  nullify any  regulations which  create  or
perpetuate such discrimination, based on  racial superiority or  hatred; and

prohibit  organizations  and  activities  which  promote  or  incite  racial
discrimination. They  also agree to provide  remedies for  victims of racial
discrimination  and  to  adopt  measures  to  combat  prejudice  and promote
understanding among different national, racial and ethnic groups.

  In addition, States parties undertake to  guarantee the right of  everyone
to equality  before the  law  without  distinction as  to race,  colour,  or
national or ethnic origin.

  In the past, the Committee has called upon the Secretary-General to  bring
to  the  attention  of  States  parties,   at  their  annual  meeting,   the
unfortunate  consequences of  delays in  the  submission  of reports  and to
encourage them  to consider  ways and  means by  which all parties  might be
brought  to fulfil  their reporting  obligations.    The Committee  has also
instituted  a procedure to  review the  implementation of  the Convention in
those States  parties  responsible  for  the longest  delays  in  submitting
periodic  reports.    In  a letter  addressed  to the  Governments  of those
States,  the  Committee  said  that  delays  in  the  submission  of reports
hampered its efforts to monitor the implementation of the Convention.

  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 States 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 States parties
have already done so:  Algeria,  Finland, Australia, Bulgaria, Chile,  Costa
Rica,  Cyprus,   Denmark,   Ecuador,   France,  Hungary,   Iceland,   Italy,
Netherlands, Norway,  Peru, Russian Federation,  Senegal, Slovakia,  Sweden,
Ukraine and Uruguay.

  Third Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination

  Concerning the Third  Decade to Combat  Racism and  Racial Discrimination,
which began  in December 1993,  the Committee will  have before  it relevant
General Assembly  resolutions on the implementation  of the  Third Decade as
well as  the report  of the Special  Rapporteur of the  Commission on  Human
Rights  on   contemporary  forms  of   racism,  racial  discrimination   and
xenophobia and related intolerance (A/50/476).  Relevant  resolutions of the
Commission and Sub-Commission will also be before the Committee.

  States Parties to Convention

  At present,  the  following 146  States  are  parties to  the  Convention:
Afghanistan,  Albania,  Algeria, Antigua  and  Barbuda, Argentina,  Armenia,
Australia,  Austria,   Bahamas,  Bahrain,  Bangladesh,  Barbados,   Belarus,
Belgium,  Bolivia,  Bosnia  and  Herzegovina,  Botswana,  Brazil,  Bulgaria,
Burkina  Faso, Burundi,  Cambodia,  Cameroon, Canada,  Cape  Verde,  Central
African  Republic, Chad,  Chile, China,  Colombia, Congo,  Costa Rica,  Cote
d'Ivoire,  Croatia,  Cuba,   Czech  Republic,  Cyprus,  Denmark,   Dominican
Republic, Ecuador,  Egypt, El  Salvador, Estonia,  Ethiopia, Fiji,  Finland,
France, Gabon,  Gambia, Germany, Ghana,  Greece, Guatemala, Guinea,  Guyana,
Haiti,  Holy  See,  Hungary, Iceland,  India,  Iran,  Iraq,  Israel,  Italy,
Jamaica, Japan,  Jordan, Kuwait, Lao  People's Democratic Republic,  Latvia,
Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya.

  Also,   Luxembourg,  Madagascar,   Maldives,   Mali,   Malta,  Mauritania,
Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco,  Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia,
Nepal,   Netherlands,  New  Zealand,   Nicaragua,  Niger,  Nigeria,  Norway,
Pakistan, Panama,  Papua New  Guinea, Peru,  Philippines, Poland,  Portugal,
Qatar, Republic of  Korea, Romania, Russian  Federation, Rwanda,  St. Lucia,
St.  Vincent  and   the  Grenadines,  Senegal,  Seychelles,  Sierra   Leone,
Slovakia,  Slovenia, Solomon  Islands,  Somalia, Spain,  Sri  Lanka,  Sudan,
Suriname,  Swaziland,  Sweden,  Switzerland,  Syria,  The  former   Yugoslav
Republic  of  Macedonia,  Tajikistan,  Togo,  Tonga,  Trinidad  and  Tobago,

Tunisia,  Turkmenistan,  Uganda,   Ukraine,  United  Arab  Emirates,  United
Kingdom, United  Republic of Tanzania,  United States, Uruguay,  Uzbekistan,
Venezuela,  Viet  Nam, Yemen,  Federal  Republic  of Yugoslavia  (Serbia and
Montenegro), Zaire, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

  Committee Membership, Officers

  The members  of the Committee, elected  in their  individual capacity are:
Mahmoud Aboul-Nasr (Egypt);  Hamzat Ahmadu (Nigeria); Michael Parker  Banton
(United Kingdom); Theodoor  van Boven (Netherlands); Ion Diaconu  (Romania);
Eduardo  Ferrero Costa  (Peru); Ivan  Garvalov (Bulgaria);  Regis de Gouttes
(France); Andrew Chigovera (Zimbabwe); Carlos  Lechuga Hevia (Cuba); Yuri A.
Rechetov  (Russian  Federation);  Shanti  Sadiq  Ali  (India);  Agha   Shahi
(Pakistan); Michael  E. Sherifis (Cyprus); Zou  Deci (China); Luis  Valencia
Rodriguez  (Ecuador); Rudiger  Wolfrum  (Germany); and  Mario  Jorge  Yutzis

  At  the beginning of  the forty-eighth  session, the  Committee will elect
from  among  its  members  a  Chairperson,  three  Vice-Chairpersons  and  a
Rapporteur to serve for two years.

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