COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
2 – 27 August 1999
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS
SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE 9 OF THE CONVENTION
of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
1. The Committee considered
the initial and second periodic reports of Azerbaijan (CERD/C/350/Add.1)
at its 1358th and 1359th meetings (see CERD/C/SR.1358 and 1359), on
18 and 19 August 1999. At its 1368th meeting (see CERD/C/SR.1368), on
25 August 1999, it adopted the following concluding observations.
2. The Committee welcomes the initial and second periodic reports submitted
by the State party in one document and the additional written information
provided by the delegation as well as the opportunity thus offered to
open its dialogue with the State party. It expresses its satisfaction
at the high quality of the report, its conformity with the guidelines
and the participation of non-governmental organizations in its preparation.
The Committee has been encouraged by the presence of a high-ranking delegation
and expresses its appreciation for the constructive dialogue with its
B. Factors and difficulties impeding the
implementation of the Convention
3. After regaining independence in 1991 the State party was soon engaged
in war with Armenia, another State party. As a result of the conflict,
hundreds of thousands of ethnic Azerbaijanis and Armenians are now displaced
persons or refugees. Because of the occupation of some 20 per cent of
its territory, the State party cannot fully implement the Convention.
C. Positive aspects
4. The Committee notes with satisfaction that on ratification the International
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, like
other international instruments, became an integral part of the State's
domestic legislation. It is particularly encouraged by the measures to
secure the independence of judges and by the establishment of a special
directorate to investigate irregularities in the treatment of members
of the public by police officers.
5. The State party's efforts
in supporting the teaching of the languages of minorities and other
measures in the fields of teaching, education, culture and information
on human rights are welcomed.
6. The Committee notes with
appreciation the State party's implementation of an international cooperation
programme in the field of human rights in cooperation with the Office
of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
D. Principal subjects of concern
7. The Committee expresses its concern about the continuation of the conflict
in and around the Nagorny-Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Since the conflict undermines peace and security in the region and impedes
implementation of the Convention, the Committee hopes that a solution
can be found in accordance with the principles identified in the framework
of the OSCE and with internationally recognized human rights standards.
8. Since the 1989 census
the Russian-speaking and Armenian minorities have greatly declined in
numbers. More information is needed on all ethnic groups, their geographical
location and economic and social circumstances.
9. While noting that the
State party's Constitution guarantees the equal rights of every person
irrespective of race, and that domestic legislation criminalizes acts
of racial discrimination, the Committee is concerned about the lack
of information on the implementation of articles 2 and 4 of the Convention
and about the difficulties which organizations promoting the objectives
of the Convention have apparently encountered when seeking official
10. Although the Committee
notes that the State party's Constitution guarantees the enjoyment,
without discrimination, of most of the rights mentioned in article 5
of the Convention, it remains acutely concerned about the effective
enjoyment of these rights by persons belonging to ethnic groups, in
particular by persons belonging to the Armenian, Russian and Kurdish
minorities when seeking employment, housing and education.
11. The Committee shares
the State Party's concern about the situation of displaced persons and
refugees which has resulted from the conflict and the occupation of
part of the State party's territory.
12. The Committee takes
note of the information on the existing legal means for lodging complaints
in cases of racial discrimination. It fears that the absence of complaints
by victims of racial discrimination may indicate ignorance of or a lack
of confidence in the available legal remedies.
E. Suggestions and recommendations
13. The Committee suggests that the State party analyse the findings of
the forthcoming census to throw light on the relatively great emigration
from the Russian-speaking and Armenian minorities and on the economic
and social situation of the other ethnic groups.
14. With regard to articles
2 and 4 of the Convention and in order better to evaluate the concrete
implementation of these articles, the Committee requests the State party
to include in its next periodic report relevant articles of the Constitution,
Criminal Code and the Laws on Political Parties and Public Organizations
and information on how these laws are applied.
15. The Committee recommends
that the State party also include in its next report appropriate extracts
from the Law on Citizenship so that the Committee can consider the extent
to which it is in conformity with the Convention.
16. The Committee recommends
that the State party utilize all available means, including international
cooperation, to ameliorate the situation of displaced persons and refugees,
especially regarding their access to education, employment and housing,
pending their return to their houses under conditions of safety.
17. The Committee also recommends
the State party to consider establishing a national human rights institution
to facilitate the implementation of the Convention, in accordance with
the Committee's general recommendation XVII.
18. With regard to the implementation
of article 6 of the Convention, the Committee recommends that the State
party take further steps to facilitate equal access to the courts and
administrative bodies for all persons belonging to ethnic minorities
and provide information on the right to seek just and adequate reparation
for any damage suffered as a result of racial discrimination.
19. The Committee encourages
the State party to continue cooperating with the Office of the United
Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in the protection of human
rights, against racial discrimination. In this connection, the Committee
recommends the State party to consider promoting the education and training
on racial tolerance and human rights issues of law enforcement officials,
in accordance with article 7 of the Convention and general recommendation
XIII of the Committee.
20. The Committee noted
with concern the allegations made by the reporting State that another
State party is not giving effect to the provisions of the Convention.
It therefore draws the attention of the State party to the procedure
established in article 11 of the Convention.
21. 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 requested that
the possibility of such a declaration be considered. The Committee also
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.
22. The Committee suggests
to the State party that the report and these concluding observations
be widely distributed to the public. The Committee recommends that the
State party's next periodic report, due on 15 September 2001, be an
updating report and that it address the points raised in these concluding