COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION
OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
6-24 March 2000
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, second, third, fourth and fifth periodic reports of Bahrain,
submitted as one document (CERD/C/353/Add.1/Rev.1), at its 1390th
and 1391st meetings (CERD/C/SR.1390 and 1391), held on 20 March 2000.
At its 1397th meeting, held on 23 March 2000, it adopted the following
2. The Committee welcomes
the consolidated report, which contained detailed demographic and
economic data and information on the legal framework relating to the
implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination
of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Moreover, the Committee appreciates
that the report was prepared in accordance with the Committee's guidelines.
The Committee was encouraged by the attendance of a high-ranking delegation
and expresses its appreciation for the open and constructive dialogue
which took place.
B. Positive aspects
3. The Committee welcomes
the fact that the State party has acceded to several international
human rights instruments. The Committee further notes with satisfaction
that the Convention has been published in the Official Gazette, has
the force of law and can be invoked by individuals before the courts.
4. The Committee welcomes
the establishment of the Committee for Human Rights and will follow
its future work with interest.
5. The Committee notes
with satisfaction the State party's ratification on 15 March 2000
of the amendment to article 8, paragraph 6 of the Convention, adopted
on 15 January 1992 at the Fourteenth Meeting of States Parties to
C. Concerns and recommendations
6. While noting the extensive
demographic data provided, the Committee recommends that the State
party provide data disaggregated by ethnicity and nationality, given
that a significant proportion of the population (38 per cent) and
a majority of the working force (63 per cent) are not Bahrainis.
7. While noting the detailed
information provided by the State party on constitutional and legislative
provisions relating to the implementation of the Convention, the Committee
recommends that the State party provide examples of practical implementation
of the provisions of the Convention. Guarantees of equality under
the Constitution or the absence of judicial rulings applying provisions
of the Convention should not be taken to imply that racial discrimination
within Bahraini society does not exist.
8. Noting article 172
of the Bahraini Penal Code, article 41 of the Press and Publication
Act No. 14 of 1979, and the Social and Cultural Associations and Clubs,
Private Institutions and Sports Organizations Act No. 21 of 1989,
the Committee is concerned that existing legislation concerning the
prohibition of racial discrimination is conditional upon an action
being contrary to public peace, order or morality. The Committee emphasizes
that not all issues of racial discrimination will necessarily disrupt
public order or morality. The Committee encourages the State party
to continue its review of legislation and recommends it to implement
fully article 4 of the Convention.
9. The Committee expresses
its concern at the difficulty, without the aid of information on relevant
legislation, of assessing the extent of protection afforded to foreigners,
and of enjoyment of the rights and freedoms contained in article 5
of the Convention, as provided for in the Constitution. The Committee
recommends that the State party provide information on such relevant
legislation in subsequent reports.
10. In the light of the
Principles relating to the status of national institutions, approved
by the General Assembly in its resolution 48/134, the Committee requests
the State party to provide in subsequent reports information on inter
alia the responsibilities of the Committee for Human Rights and
on its composition, methods and achievements, particularly its achievements
in combating racial discrimination.
11. 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 making such a declaration be considered.
12. The Committee recommends
that the State party's reports be made readily available to the public
from the time they are submitted and that the Committee's observations
of the reports be similarly disseminated.
13. The Committee recommends
that the State party ensure the timely submission of its sixth periodic
report, due on 26 April 2001, and that it be an updating report, addressing
the points raised in the present observations.