COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
6-23 March 2001
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE 9
OF THE CONVENTION
Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial
1. The Committee considered
the thirteenth and fourteenth periodic reports of Algeria, which were
due on 15 March 1997 and 1999, respectively, submitted as one document
(CERD/C/362/Add.6), at its 1445th meeting (CERD/C/SR.1445), held on
9 March 2001. At its 1459th meeting (CERD/C/SR.1459), held on 20 March
2001, it adopted the following concluding observations.
2. The Committee welcomes
the thirteenth and fourteenth periodic reports as well as the additional
information that the State party's delegation provided during its oral
presentation and in writing, and expresses its appreciation for the
opportunity to continue its dialogue with the State party. The Committee
notes with appreciation that the report was more exhaustive than the
previous periodic report, particularly with regard to constitutional
and legal provisions.
B. Positive aspects
3. It is noted with appreciation
that the State party has made the declaration under article 14 of the
Convention recognizing the competence of the Committee to receive and
consider communications from individuals or groups of individuals.
4. The Committee welcomes
the fact that, pursuant to article 132 of the Constitution, international
instruments that have been ratified and promulgated by the State party,
including the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms
of Racial Discrimination, form part of and take precedence over norms
of the State party's domestic law, and can be invoked directly before
5. The Committee welcomes
the ongoing reforms with regard to the administration of justice and
the setting up of a National Commission for the Reform of the Justice
System, by means of presidential decree No. 99-234 of 19 October 1999.
6. The Committee notes as
positive the announcement by the delegation of the forthcoming establishment
of a new National Advisory Commission for the Promotion and Protection
of Human Rights, the members of which would include civil society organizations
and half the membership of which would be women, and which would closely
coordinate with the National Human Rights Observatory.
7. The Committee welcomes
the initiatives taken by the Government in the area of human rights
education, including the establishment of a United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization Chair in the teaching of human
rights in the University of Oran. The incumbent would be responsible
for organizing and promoting an integrated system of human rights research,
teaching, information and documentation, as well as human rights training
at the National Judicial Training Institute, the Police Training School
and the National Prison Administration Training School.
8. The Committee appreciates
the recognition in the Algerian Constitution of the Islamic, Arab and
the Amazigh components of Algerian identity and encourages the efforts
to introduce teaching of the Amazigh language in schools.
C. Concerns and recommendations
9. Noting the absence of
statistical data on the ethnic composition of Algerian society, the
Committee recommends that the State party provide an estimate of the
composition of the population as requested in paragraph 8 of the reporting
guidelines and, in particular, information on social indicators reflecting
the situation of ethnic groups, including the Amazigh community. In
this connection, the Committee draws the attention of the State party
to its General Recommendation VIII concerning the identification of
members of particular racial and ethnic groups.
10. The Committee expresses
its concern at the Law on the Generalization of the Arabic Language
of 5 July 1998, prohibiting the use of languages other than Arabic in
various fields. While noting the statement by the delegation that the
Law on the Generalization of Arabic Language has not been applied in
practice, the Committee urges the Government to review this law as a
matter of priority, particularly in the context of the steps taken to
promote the Amazigh language.
11. The Committee notes
that articles 27 and 42 of the Constitution of Algeria prohibit discrimination
based on race, language or religion. Nevertheless, it is concerned at
the inadequate provisions in domestic legislation to address diverse
aspects of racial discrimination. It thus reiterates its recommendation
that the State party consider incorporating in its domestic legislation
a prohibition of racial discrimination in accordance with the Convention
and provisions for enforcing the prohibition.
12. While noting the efforts
by the State party to amend its criminal code, notably article 298 and
article 299, in accordance with the recommendations of the Committee
at the examination of the eleventh and twelfth periodic reports, the
Committee remains concerned about the State party's failure to comply
fully with all requirements of article 4 of the Convention and recommends
that further steps be taken to accelerate the legislative review process.
13. With regard to article
5, the Committee notes that the facts and figures provided in the report
are in relation to the totality of the population and are not disaggregated.
In this connection, the Committee wishes to receive detailed information
on the application of the provisions of this article to the nomadic
groups in the next periodic report.
14. The Committee reiterates
its previous recommendation that the next periodic report of the State
party contain all available information on complaints and court cases
relating to 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
15. The Committee notes
that despite the significant steps taken by the Government to preserve
and promote the Amazigh identity through the setting up of a High Commission
on Amazighness, no additional information has been given on this population
group, on measures taken for the protection and promotion of its culture
and language, or on the activities of the High Commission on Amazighness.
The Committee is concerned about reports of inadequate functioning of
this Commission and requests additional, concrete information with regard
to the functioning, membership and performance of the Commission in
promoting Amazigh language and culture.
16. The Committee requests
that in its next periodic report, the State party provide information
on the role of the National Advisory Commission for the Promotion and
Protection of Human Rights in monitoring the implementation of the State
party's treaty obligations and on the coordination between this organization
and the National Human Rights Observatory.
17. The Committee recommends
that the State party's periodic reports be made widely available to
the public from the time they are submitted and that the Committee's
concluding observations be similarly publicized. In addition, all sectors
of society should be informed and educated about the provisions of the
Convention, including those of article 14.
18. The Committee further
recommends that the State party ratify the amendments to article 8,
paragraph 6, of the Convention, adopted by the Fourteenth Meeting of
19. The Committee recommends
that the State party submit its fifteenth periodic report jointly with
its sixteenth periodic report, due on 15 March 2003, and that it addresses
the points raised in the present observations.