18 February 2005

Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination to Meet in Geneva from 21 February to 11 March

Committee to Consider Reports of Lao People’s Democratic Republic, France, Luxembourg, Nigeria, Australia, Ireland, Bahrain and Azerbaijan

(Reissued as received.)

GENEVA, 17 February (UN Information Service) -- The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination will hold its sixty-sixth session at the Palais Wilson from 21 February to 11 March 2005 to review anti-discrimination efforts undertaken by the Governments of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, France, Luxembourg, Nigeria, Australia, Ireland, Bahrain and Azerbaijan.

These countries are among the 170 States parties to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, a treaty that first took effect in 1969. The 18-member Committee, the first body created by the United Nations to review actions by States to fulfil obligations under a specific human rights agreement, examines reports submitted periodically by States parties on efforts to comply with the Convention. Government representatives generally present the report, discuss its contents with Committee members, and answer questions.

At this session, the Experts will also look at the implementation of the Convention in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ethiopia, Nicaragua and Papua New Guinea. These States parties are at least five years late for the submission of their initial or periodic reports to the Committee.

During the course of the three-week session, the Committee will also hold a thematic discussion on the prevention of genocide on 28 February and 1 March, and a general debate on multiculturalism on 8 March.

In addition, the Committee will study, in closed session, communications from individuals claiming to be victims of racial discrimination. Only complaints against the 45 States parties that have recognized the competence of the Committee under article 14 of the Convention are admissible.

Also at this session, the Committee will continue its consideration of the prevention of racial discrimination, including through early warning measures and urgent action procedures. Here, the Committee may decide to take steps to prevent existing problems from escalating into conflicts or may decide to initiate urgent action aimed at responding to problems requiring immediate attention to prevent or limit the scale or number of serious violations of the Convention. The Committee may schedule a review of the situation in some countries at short notice.

States Parties to Convention

At present, the following 170 States are parties to the Convention: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Benin, 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, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Equatorial Guinea, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, 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, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, San Marino, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, 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 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 45 States parties have already done so: Algeria, Austria, Australia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela.

Committee Membership and Officers

The members of the Committee, elected in their individual capacity, are: Mahmoud Aboul-Nasr (Egypt); Nourredine Amir (Algeria); Alexei Avtonomov (Russian Federation); Ralph Boyd (United States); Jose Francisco Cali Tzay (Guatemala); Fatima-Binta Victoire Dah (Burkina Faso); Régis de Gouttes (France); Kurt Herndl (Austria); Patricia Nozipho January-Bardill (South Africa); Morten Kjaerum (Denmark); José Augusto Lindgren Alves (Brazil); Raghavan Vasudevan Pillai (India); Agha Shahi (Pakistan); Linos Alexander Sicilianos (Greece); Tang Chengyuan (China); Patrick Thornberry (United Kingdom); Luis Valencia Rodriguez (Ecuador); and Mario Jorge Yutzis (Argentina).

* *** *