COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION
OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES
UNDER ARTICLE 9 OF THE CONVENTION
Concluding observations of the Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination
1. At its 1216th and
1217th meetings, held on 4 and 5 August 1997, the Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination considered the eleventh and
twelfth (consolidated) periodic reports of Algeria (CERD/C/280/Add.3)
and adopted, at its 1235th meeting, held on 18 August 1997, the
following concluding observations.
2. The Committee expresses
its appreciation for the opportunity to resume its dialogue with
the State party and for the additional information that the State
party's delegation provided during its oral presentation. However,
the Committee regrets that the report does not fully comply with
the reporting guidelines and that it fails to provide concrete information
on the implementation of the Convention in Algeria and on the actual
enjoyment by the population of its rights.
B. Factors and difficulties impeding the implementation of the
3. It is recognized
that Algeria has to face economic, social and political challenges,
and it is experiencing economic and social problems which might
have a negative impact on the situation of the population and which
impede the full enjoyment of economic and social rights.
4. The Committee also
notes that the climate of violence which has been in existence in
Algeria since 1989, and severely affects the civilian population,
is an additional and serious obstacle to the full implementation
of the Convention.
C. Positive aspects
5. The Committee warmly
appreciates the efforts of the State party to implement the Convention
under adverse circumstances.
6. It is noted with
great appreciation that the State party has made a declaration under
article 14 of the Convention recognizing the competence of the Committee
to receive and consider communications from individuals or groups
7. The Committee welcomes
the fact that, in accordance with article 123 of the Constitution,
international instruments, such as the Convention, that have been
ratified, promulgated and implemented by Algeria are part of the
State party's domestic law and take priority over norms of domestic
law that contradict them.
8. The setting up of
the National Cultural Council in 1990, the establishment in 1992
of the National Human Rights Observatory and the establishment of
the Office of the High Commissioner on Amazighe Status in 1995,
as well as the restructuring of the Amazigh language to make instruction
in this language in schools and universities possible, is noted
9. The Committee notes
with appreciation that education at all levels is free, as is public
D. Principal subjects of concern
10. Concern is expressed
over the insufficiency of information on the ethnic composition
of the population of Algeria, which makes it difficult to identify
vulnerable groups and to evaluate activities intended for their
11. Although the periodic
report contains information on legislative measures, the Committee
regrets the lack of information on judicial, administrative or other
measures adopted by the State party to give effect to the provisions
of the Convention.
12. Although article
28 of the Algerian Constitution provides for non-discrimination,
together with equality before the law and equal protection of the
law without discrimination, the Committee is concerned about the
failure of the Government to incorporate the prohibition of "racial
discrimination" in its domestic law, in accordance with the Convention.
13. Concern is expressed
that the State party has not fulfilled all the requirements of article
4 (a) and (b) of the Convention.
14. It is also noted
with concern that the lack of information in the report on the implementation
of article 5 of the Convention makes it difficult for the Committee
to evaluate the situation with regard to the enjoyment of civil,
political, economic, social and cultural rights by the population
in Algeria, and in particular by members of the various ethnic groups.
15. The lack of comprehensive
information on instances where complaints are lodged by individuals
alleging acts of racial discrimination and on compensation paid
to victims of such acts makes it difficult to assess whether the
provisions of article 6 of the Convention are implemented effectively
16. While the statement
made by the delegation of the State party regarding human rights
training of judges and law enforcement officials, as well as human
rights education at the university level, is welcomed, the information
in the written report does not enable the Committee to evaluate
the extent and impact of such programmes.
E. Suggestions and recommendations
17. The Committee recommends
that the State party describe in its next periodic report all the
legislative, judicial, administrative or other measures which give
effect to the provisions of the Convention, in accordance with article
9 of the Convention.
18. The Committee recommends
that the State party consider incorporating in its domestic legislation
a prohibition of racial discrimination, in accordance with the Convention.
19. The Committee reiterates
its recommendation, made during the consideration of the tenth periodic
report, that the State party provide the information on the composition
of the population requested in paragraph 8 of the reporting guidelines
and, in particular, information on social indicators reflecting
the situation of the ethnic groups, including the Berbers. Such
information is essential for the Government itself to detect possible
patterns of discrimination and for the Committee to monitor effectively
the implementation of the Convention. In this connection, the Committee
draws the attention of the Government of Algeria to its General
Recommendation IV and suggests that the State party take into consideration
its General Recommendation VIII concerning the identification of
members of particular racial or ethnic groups.
20. The Committee stresses
that the provisions of article 4 of the Convention are mandatory
and should be fully implemented, as stated in its General Recommendation
VII. In order to prevent the dissemination of racist ideas and incitement
to racial hatred, the Committee recommends that the State party
comply fully with its obligations under article 4 of the Convention
and, in particular, declare illegal and prohibit any organization
which promotes or incites racial discrimination. Due account should
be taken of the Committee's General Recommendation XV.
21. The Committee recommends
that the enjoyment by everyone without discrimination of the rights
listed in article 5 of the Convention be ensured, in particular
the right to security of person and protection against violence
or bodily harm (art. 5 (b)). In connection, with article 5 (e) of
the Convention, adequate indicators and other means of monitoring
the economic and social conditions of the ethnic groups should be
developed. In that regard, the Committee recommends that the State
party provide, in the next periodic report, fuller information on
the protection of the rights to work, housing and education from
discrimination on grounds of ethnic origin, contained in article
22. The Committee recommends
that the next periodic report of the State party contain all available
information on complaints and court cases relating to acts of racial
discrimination and also information on the right of individuals
to seek adequate reparation for any damage suffered as a result
of such discrimination, as provided for in article 6 of the Convention.
23. The Committee recommends
that the Government of Algeria continue and strengthen its human
rights training activities for judges, lawyers and magistrates and
put special emphasis on education and sensitization programmes about
the provisions of the Convention, in accordance with article 7 of
the Convention. This type of training should also be provided to
law enforcement officials and members of the armed forces. Due account
should be taken of the Committee's General Recommendation XIII.
24. The Committee recommends
that the State party launch an effective information campaign in
order to inform and educate all sectors of society on the provisions
of the Convention and inform them of the remedy available under
article 14 of the Convention. Additionally, the State party should
ensure the wide dissemination of its report and of the concluding
observations of the Committee.
25. The Committee recommends
that the State party ratify the amendments to article 8, paragraph
6, of the Convention, adopted by the 14th meeting of States parties.
26. The Committee recommends
that the State party's next periodic report be a comprehensive report
and address all the concerns expressed by the Committee.