COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION
OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES
UNDER ARTICLE 9 OF THE CONVENTION
Concluding observations of the Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination
1. The Committee considered the initial and second periodic reports of
Armenia (CERD/C/289/Add.2) at its 1262nd and 1263rd meetings, held on
12 and 13 March 1998, and adopted, at its 1272nd meeting, held on 19 March
1998, the following concluding observations.
2. The Committee commends
the State party on the quality of its report, prepared in accordance
with the Committee's guidelines. It appreciates the open and constructive
dialogue with the representatives of the State party and the additional
information provided orally.
B. Factors and difficulties impeding the implementation of the Convention
3. It is noted that the
State party is going through a difficult period of political, economic
and social reforms following the dissolution of the former Soviet Union
and that these factors, together with recent demographic movements,
are not conducive to the full implementation of the Convention.
C. Positive aspects
4. It is noted with appreciation
that despite prevailing political, economic and social difficulties,
efforts are being made to implement the provisions of the Convention.
The State party's pronounced commitment to ensure equality before the
law is especially noted.
5. The signature of the
State party to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Agreement
on questions relating to the restoration of the rights of deported persons,
national minorities and peoples in 1992 and to the CIS Convention on
the safeguarding of the rights of members of national minorities in
1994 is noted with interest.
6. It is noted with interest
that there have been considerable legal developments recently and that
the State party is in the process of drafting new legislation, including
a new Penal Code, expected to be adopted by the end of 1998, as well
as legislation regarding employment and the family.
7. With respect to article
7 of the Convention, the publication and dissemination of the texts
and principles of the Convention and other human rights documents is
welcomed by the Committee. It is also noted with interest that the State
party and the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights in Geneva
have set up a project to organize seminars, train specialists and disseminate
human rights literature.
D. Principal subjects of concern
8. While noting that the
existing penal legislation is undergoing reform, the Committee is nevertheless
concerned that article 69 of the Penal Code currently in force does
not prohibit all dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority
and incitement to racial discrimination as required by article 4 of
9. The lack of any information
in the State party's report on the incidence of racially motivated crime
10. With regard to the right
to equal treatment before the tribunals and the right to security of
person and protection by the State against violence or bodily harm (article
5, paragraphs (a) and (b), of the Convention), concern is expressed
at the reported cases of torture and other cruel or degrading treatment
on the part of police and investigating officers.
11. With respect to the
right to education and training of members of ethnic and national minorities,
it is noted with concern that according to Armenian law, teaching must
be conducted in the official language, and that some minority groups
are therefore denied access to education in practice.
E. Suggestions and recommendations
12. The Committee recommends
that the State party fully comply with article 4 of the Convention and
register statistics on racially motivated crimes. It also recommends
that this information be included in the next periodic report, together
with detailed information on complaints received and judgements issued
by courts concerning racial discrimination.
13. The Committee further
suggests that the State party consider adopting measures to ensure that
ethnic and national minorities have access to education in their own
language whenever possible.
14. The Committee requests
the State party to include information about the results and effectiveness
of the ongoing human rights project carried out by the State party and
the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
15. It is further recommended
that the State party furnish the Committee with the texts of new laws
concerning racial discrimination once they are adopted, and subsequently
with information on the effectiveness of the reforms of the judicial
system in practice.
16. In its forthcoming report,
the State party should include, inter alia, further information
on the restoration of the rights of deportees who have returned to the
country, the results of the national reform on education, and the access
to health care, housing and employment of ethnic and national minorities.
17. The Committee suggests
that the State party consider establishing a human rights commission
to take action on the recommendations brought forward by the Committee.
18. The Committee recommends
that the State party ratify the amendments to article 8, paragraph 6,
of the Convention, adopted on 15 January 1992 at the Fourteenth Meeting
of States Parties to the Convention.
19. It is noted that the
State party has not made the declaration provided for in article 14
of the Convention, and some members of the Committee request that the
possibility of such a declaration be considered.
20. The Committee recommends
that the State party's next periodic report, due on 23 July 1998, be
an updating report and that it address all the points raised in the