MINELRES: UN CERD 67th session: 1 - 19 August 2005, Geneva

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Thu Jun 2 19:48:42 2005


Original sender: Sandra Aragon <saragon@ohchr.org>


Dear Colleagues,

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) will
hold its 67th session from 1 to 19 August 2005 at the United Nations
Office at Geneva. During its session, the Committee will examine the
reports of the following States parties: Barbados, Georgia, Iceland,
Nigeria, Tanzania, Turkmenistan, Venezuela and Zambia.  The Committee
will also review the implementation of the Convention in the following
States parties whose reports are at least five years overdue: Malawi,
Mozambique, Saint Lucia and Seychelles.

There are now 170 States parties to the International Convention on the
Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination. For the list States
that have made the declaration under article 14 allowing individual or a
group of persons who claim to be victims of racial discrimination to
lodge a complaint with CERD against their State, please visit the
following link

http://untreaty.un.org/ENGLISH/bible/englishinternetbible/partI/chapterIV/treaty
2.asp

For further information please contact Ms. Nathalie Prouvez or Ms.
Mylène Bidault, 
CERD Secretariat, 
United Nations Office, OHCHR, 
CH-1211 Geneva, Switzerland, 
Tel.: +41 22 917 92 54 or 41 22 917 93 09; 
e-mail: mbidault.hchr@unog.ch or nprouvez.hchr@unog.ch. 

The programme as well as the documentation are available on the CERD
webpage at
http://www.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/cerds67.htm
-------------------------------------------

SECRETARIAT BRIEFING NOTE FOR NGOS
2005
 
I. International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial
Discrimination (ICERD)

The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination
was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 21 December 1965,
and entered into force on 4 January 1969. It has been ratified by 170
States (as at 14 April 2005).

The Convention, which contains 25 articles, describes the measures that
States parties have undertaken to implement in order to eliminate all
forms of racial discrimination, as defined in article 1. The latter
provides that "in this Convention, the term 'racial discrimination'
shall mean 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."


II. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

CERD is responsible for monitoring progress made by States parties in
fulfilling their obligations under the Convention. It does so through
the examination of periodic reports submitted by States parties to the
Convention .

The Committee is composed of eighteen independent experts who are
elected in their personal capacity by States parties for a four-year
term. An equitable geographical distribution and representation of the
principal legal systems is taken into consideration in their selection2.

The Committee meets twice a year for three weeks -during the last week
of February and the first two weeks of March and the first three weeks
of August- in Geneva (Switzerland). It has a small permanent
secretariat, headed by Ms. Nathalie Prouvez, Secretary of the Committee,
at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.


III.  Overview of Reporting Procedure

1. State Parties' reports

Under article 9 of the Convention, States Parties undertake to submit to
the Committee a report on the legislative, judicial, administrative or
other measures which they have adopted and which give effect to the
provisions of the Convention. An initial report is to be submitted
within one year after the entry into force of the Convention for the
State concerned. Thereafter, periodic reports are to be sent every two
years and whenever the Committee so requests. In cases where States
parties are overdue in submitting their reports by five years or more,
the Committee may decide to review the implementation of the provisions
of the Convention on the basis of all other available information
(review procedure).

The preparation of the initial report should allow governments to
conduct a comprehensive review of the measures adopted to give effect to
the rights under the Convention and on the progress made on the
enjoyment of these rights. The report should provide a comprehensive
understanding of the implementation of the Convention and indicate the
factors and difficulties that prevent full compliance with the
Convention.

Periodic reports do not need to repeat detailed information that has
previously been provided to the Committee. States parties, however,  are
requested to provide the Committee with information on the areas of
concern previously identified by the Committee, the measures adopted as
a follow-up to the recommendations made by the Committee upon
examination of the previous report, and the obstacles encountered in the
implementation of these recommendations.

State parties reports are public documents, which are available on the
website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
(http://www.ohchr.ch), or from the Secretariat upon request.


2. Examination of State Parties' Reports

State reports are scheduled for examination by the Committee at one of
its forthcoming sessions. One member, whose name is made public, is
appointed as "country rapporteur". His/her task is to elaborate a list
of issues which will be raised during the session, and to draft the
concluding observations that will be finally adopted by the Committee.

The Committee examines the report in the presence of the government in
plenary session. This examination starts during an afternoon session and
continues during the following morning meeting. During the afternoon
meeting, the State delegation makes a brief oral presentation of the
report. The country rapporteur then makes an oral assessment of the
situation in the State concerned, and asks questions to the delegation.
Other members of the Committee also raise questions and issues of
concern. Government representatives are invited to answer the Committee
members' questions and comments. They do so immediately or more commonly
during the following morning session.

After this dialogue, the Committee, assisted by the Secretariat,
prepares and adopts concluding observations which reflect the main
points of discussion and indicate concerns and issues requiring specific
follow-up action at the national level. The concluding observations
point out the positive aspects, the factors and difficulties impeding
the implementation of the Convention, the principal subjects of concern
and concrete suggestions and recommendations for future action. These
observations are made public and are sent to both the government and the
General Assembly of the United Nations. They are available on the
website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, or from
the Secretariat upon request.


IV. NGOs and the Committee

1. Submission of written information

The Committee welcomes written information, as specific, reliable and
objective as possible, from international, regional, national and local
organizations. Such information is useful to assess the progress and
difficulties encountered in the implementation of the Convention. The
Committee welcomes information on issues upon which the government
report has not provided sufficient information and on matters of concern
not covered or, in the opinion of NGOs, covered incorrectly or
misleadingly.

NGO "alternative reports" which will adopt the same presentation as the
State's report, are especially welcomed. NGO reports prepared by
coalitions, rather than individual NGOs, are also encouraged.

Whenever possible, information should be submitted in the language of
the country rapporteur, and in any case, in English, French, or
Spanish.  As English is the working language of 12 out of 18 experts on
the present Committee and is read by most of them, documents submitted
in French and Spanish should, to the extent possible, be translated into
English. The United Nations will not translate any documents submitted
by NGOs.


2. Deadline for submission of documents and number of hardcopies
requested for the 67th session (2 - 19 August 2005): 

Information should be sent to the Secretariat of the Committee by email
AND by ordinary mail at the address mentioned above, attention of Ms.
Nathalie Prouvez, Secretary of the Committee. 

1. Deadline 1 June 2005: It should be stressed that information is more
likely to be taken into account by the country rapporteur and other
members of the Committee if it reaches us several weeks before the
session, when the Secretariat is compiling a country analysis for the
members and in particular the country rapporteur, and assisting the
latter in the preparation of the list of issues to be sent in advance to
the State delegation. Therefore, we would appreciate your efforts to
send us an electronic version of your report by 1 June 2005.

        
2. If you cannot meet the 1 June deadline, or have only sent us an
electronic version by 1 June, and want us to forward a paper copy of
your report to members in advance, PLEASE SEND US AT THE LATEST BY 25
June  2005  20 paper copies of the document to the Secretariat ( The
Secretariat does not have the capacity to reproduce NGOs documents, and
is grateful to NGOs for providing a sufficient number of copies of their
reports).

3. If you cannot meet the 25 June deadline, we shall only forward in
advance to members the electronic version of your report once we receive
it. Additionally, we shall need AT THE LATEST BY 25 July  2005  20
copies to distribute to members when they arrive in Geneva (even if you
have already sent us 20 copies by 25 June, they do not bring with them
the documents that have been sent to them in advance).
         
Information submitted by NGOs will be made public and will be
communicated to the permanent mission of the State concerned in Geneva,
unless specific mention is made of its confidential nature. NGOs are
advised to indicate whether or not the members of the Committee may
refer to the source of the information during their discussions with the
government.

 
3.  Participation in the sessions: lunchtime briefings and accreditation

As mentioned earlier, scrutiny of State reports usually extends over two
public meetings of three hours each (afternoon meeting on the first day
and morning meeting on the second day). NGOs do not have a right to
speak during the meeting but may attend as observers. It may also be
possible to meet with Committee members informally between meetings in
order to present additional information, provide updates, or suggest
possible questions to be raised with the State delegation.

Lunchtime briefings may also be organised on the first day of the
examination of the State party report concerned by the Committee from
13.45 hours to 14.45 hours (a room is made available for these
briefings). NGOs wishing to organise a briefing should inform the
Secretariat prior to the beginning of the session. Deadline for 67th
session:  15 July 2005 at the latest. The United Nations will not
provide interpretation for lunchtime briefings.  If you want to make a
powerpoint presentation, please inform us three days in advance of your
need for equipment, as last minute requests will be unsuccessful.

The Committee is unable to provide funding for travel expenses or assist
in making travel arrangements. No official invitation can be sent to
NGOs. Nevertheless, for security reasons, NGOs should communicate to the
secretariat the names of the representatives they wish to send as
observers to the session, particularly if you wish to include in your
delegation individuals who are not accredited with the United Nations.
Please provide their names to the Secretariat of the Committee at the
latest by 15 July 2005 (jfucio@ohchr.org; fax: 00 41 22 917 9022;
telephone: 00 41 22 917 9409). The name of your representatives will be
forwarded to the Accreditation Office that will provide them with a
visitor's badge to be collected upon arrival (Villa les Feuillantines,
opposite the main United Nations gate, place des Nations).

......................

COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION  OF  RACIAL DISCRIMINATION

MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE

Member                       Nationality            Working Language
Mr. Mahmoud ABOUL-NASR         Egypt                          E
Mr. Nourredine AMIR            Algeria                        F
Mr. Alexei  S.  AVTONOMOV      Russian Federation             E
Mr. Ralph F.  BOYD  Jr.        United States of America       E
Mr.  Jose Francisco CALI TZAY  Guatemala                      S
Ms. Fatima-Binta Victoire DAH  Burkina Faso                   F
Mr. Regis de GOUTTES           France                         F
Mr. Kurt HERNDL                Austria                        E
Ms. Patricia Nozipho JANUARY-BARDILL  South Africa            E
Mr. Morten KJAERUM             Denmark                        E
Mr. Jose A. LINDGREN ALVES     Brazil                         E
Mr. Raghavan Vasudevan PILLAI  India                          E
Mr. Luis VALENCIA RODRIGUEZ    Ecuador                        S
Mr. Agha SHAHI                 Pakistan                       E
Mr. Alexandre SICILIANOS       Greece                         F
Mr. TANG Chengyuan             China                          E
Mr. Patrick THORNBERRY         United Kingdom                 E
Mr. Mario Jorge YUTZIS         Argentina                     
S

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