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 1171st
and 1173rd meetings, held on 14 and 15 August 1996 (see CERD/C/SR.1171 and
1173), the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination considered
the third to ninth, as well as the tenth, periodic reports of Zaire (CERD/C/237/Add.2
and CERD/C/278/Add.1) and adopted, at its 1181st meeting, held on 21 August
1996, the following concluding observations.
2. The Committee
welcomes the opportunity to resume the dialogue with Zaire on the basis
of its third to ninth and tenth periodic reports, after an interruption
of 16 years. However, the Committee regrets that the reports contain no
concrete information as regards the practical implementation of the provisions
of the Convention, as requested in the general guidelines regarding the
form and content of reports to be submitted by the States parties under
article 9, paragraph 1, of the Convention.
3. The Committee
also welcomes the presence of a representative of the State party, but would
have appreciated experts from the capital being present in addition. The
commitment that the questions which remained unanswered during the discussion
would be the object of written answers from the capital in the near future
4. It is noted
that the State party has not made the declaration provided for in article
14 of the Convention. Some members requested the State party to consider
the possibility of making such a declaration.
B. Factors and difficulties impeding the implementation
of the Convention
5. It is noted
that Zaire is experiencing a severe economic crisis, which has led to the
general impoverishment of the country and the deterioration of social and
economic conditions. Moreover, the ethnic tensions in the Great Lakes region
and the very high number of refugees from neighbouring countries who have
come to Zaire during the past two years have to be taken into account in
assessing the implementation of the Convention by the State party.
C. Positive aspects
6. The transition
towards democracy, inaugurated by a decision of the Head of State on 24
April 1990, and the abolition of the one-party system are welcome developments.
Note has been taken by the Committee of the timetable set by the authorities
after the postponement of the general elections of 9 July 1995, in accordance
with which a referendum on the new Constitution would be held in March 1997
and general elections would be held in May 1997.
7. The adoption
on 9 April 1994, by a national conference composed of the main organized
political forces in the country, of the Transitional Constitutional Act
("Acte constitutional de la transition"), in which a number of
fundamental rights are enshrined, as well as the establishment by decree
of the National Commission for the Promotion of Human Rights on 8 May 1995,
are noted with satisfaction, although more information on the powers and
functions of the Commission is needed.
8. The adoption
on 28 November 1995, by the Heads of States of the Great Lakes region, of
the Cairo Declaration on the Great Lakes region, which condemns the ideology
of exclusion which can result in fear, frustration, hatred and tendencies
towards extermination and genocide, as well as their commitment to put an
end to the activities of the former members of the Rwandan Armed Forces
(FAR), who use refugee camps in Zaire as a "base" to conduct raids
against civilians in Rwanda, are welcomed. However, more information on
the concrete measures taken to implement these declarations is needed.
9. It is noted
with appreciation that legislation exists in Zaire to prohibit the promotion
of racial discrimination as required by article 4 of the Convention, such
as Ordinance-Laws No. 25/131 of 1960 and 66/342 of 1966 and the Decree of
13 June 1960, although it is noted that the provisions of article 4 are
much broader than that of the present Zairian legislation, in particular
with regard to article 4 (b) and (c).
10. It is also
noted with appreciation that a number of the rights enumerated in article
5 of the Convention, namely the right to equal treatment before tribunals,
to security of person, to vote and to stand for elections, to freedom of
movement, thought, conscience and religion, and to peaceful assembly and
association, as well as certain economic and social rights, are included
in the Constitutional Act. The information provided in the report on the
legal provisions relating to those rights is welcomed, although it is noted
that there is a lack of information regarding practical instances of their
11. Taking into
account the particularly serious situation in Zaire with regard to inter-ethnic,
tribal and regional tensions, the Committee welcomes the signature of an
agreement between the Zairian authorities and the Office of the High Commissioner
for Human Rights to establish a United Nations human rights office in Kinshasa.
D. Principal subjects of concern
12. Grave concern
is expressed at allegations of large-scale discrimination against the Pygmies
(Batwa) and at reports of violent clashes in Kivu involving the Hunde, the
Nyanga and the Nande ethnic groups (considered to be natives of Zaire),
and the Banyarwanda and the Banaymulengue ethnic groups (considered to be
non-natives of Zaire, although they have lived in the country for generations),
causing thousands of deaths. Reports of alleged regional "ethnic cleansing"
in Shaba against the Kasai ethnic group, which led to their massive displacement
to other parts of the country, and of attacks and widespread discrimination
against Rwandan and Burundian refugees, are also a subject of great concern
for the Committee.
13. The lack of
statistical data on the composition of the population and on the representation
of the various communities at all economic, social and political levels
and in the public service, including the police and the armed forces, is
14. It is also
regretted that, although the constitutional and legislative provisions existing
in Zaire to implement article 2 of the Convention were described in the
State party's reports, no information was provided to the Committee on the
effective implementation of these provisions by the authorities and on possible
cases of discrimination brought before the courts.
15. With regard
to article 3 of the Convention, the Committee draws the attention of the
State party to its General Recommendation XIX of 1995, which states that
although the reference to apartheid may have been directed exclusively to
South Africa in the past, article 3 prohibits all forms of racial segregation,
whether institutional or non-institutional, in all countries.
16. It is noted
with serious concern that, in violation of their obligations under article
5 (b) of the Convention and article 9 of the Constitutional Act, the authorities
scarcely intervened to ease the tribal and ethnic conflicts in Shaba and
Kivu and to protect the population. Concern is particularly expressed at
reports alleging that in Shaba some local officials incited the Shaba population
to hatred of the Kasai population. It is, however, duly noted that administrative
and judicial measures have been taken by the authorities to punish some
of the officials found responsible for such acts.
17. The provisions
of Law No. 81-002 of 1981, amending Decree-Law No. 71-020 of 1971, to the
effect that Zairian nationality would no longer be granted on a collective
basis to the Banyarwanda, but only to those who could prove that their ancestors
had lived in Zaire since 1885, are in violation of article 5 (d) (iii) of
the Convention and are a major source of ethnic conflict.
18. With regard
to the full and equal enjoyment of the right to education and training,
as provided for in article 5 (e) and (v) of the Convention, reports indicate
that only 2 per cent of the national budget was earmarked for education
which affects the life and future of disadvantaged racial and ethnic sectors
of the population.
19. The lack of
comprehensive information on legal measures taken to fulfil the State party's
obligations under article 6 of the Convention and on instances where complaints
have been lodged by individuals against acts of racial discrimination and
reparation was made to victims of acts of racial discrimination, makes it
difficult to assess the effective implementation of the provisions of this
article in Zaire.
20. With regard
to the implementation of article 7 of the Convention, it is regretted that
the information provided on the implementation of article 35 of the Constitutional
Act and on the courses on human rights given in schools, universities and
training programmes for the armed forces and the security forces did not
allow a proper evaluation of the situation in practice.
E. Suggestions and recommendations
21. The Committee
recommends the State party to provide in its next report information on
the implementation of the various constitutional and legal provisions aimed
at eliminating racial discrimination in all its forms, in accordance with
article 2 of the Convention, with particular emphasis on the measures taken
with regard to the conflicts in Kivu and Shaba and the situation of Rwandan
and Burundian refugees.
22. The Committee
recommends that the next periodic report include information on the powers,
functions and activities of the National Commission for the Promotion of
Human Rights, as well as comprehensive statistical data on the demographic
composition of the population, as mentioned in paragraph 13 above.
23. The Committee
also recommends that information be provided on the legal, administrative
and practical measures taken to implement the Cairo Declaration on the Great
Lakes region and the commitment undertaken to prevent raids by former members
of the FAR into Rwanda from Zaire.
article 4 of the Convention, the Committee reaffirms that the establishment
of acts of racial discrimination and incitement to such acts as offences
punishable by law in the States parties' legislation is mandatory. In this
regard, it draws the attention of the authorities to its General Recommendations
VII and XV. The Committee also wishes to be provided with information, including
statistics on complaints filed and sentences imposed, to have an idea of
the implementation in practice of the legal provisions prohibiting propaganda
of racial discrimination or hatred and organizations which promote and incite
25. The Committee
recommends that further information be provided by the State party with
regard to article 5 of the Convention, in particular on measures guaranteeing
in practice the effective enjoyment by all persons without discrimination
as to race or ethnic origin of the economic, social, cultural, civil and
political rights listed in this article, with particular reference to the
right to security of person and the right to education and training.
26. The Committee
stresses the importance of specific legal provisions providing for effective
protection and remedies against acts of racial discrimination and for 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
27. With regard
to article 7 of the Convention, the Committee would welcome information
on the various programmes described in the report aimed at spreading awareness
of human rights among the population, and in particular among law enforcement
officials, including members of the armed and security forces. In this regard,
the Committee draws the attention of the State party to its General Recommendation
28. The Committee
suggests that the third to ninth and tenth reports of Zaire, as well as
the present concluding observations, be widely disseminated among the public,
as far as possible in the main languages spoken in the country.
29. The Committee
recommends that the State party ratify at its earliest convenience the amendments
to article 8, paragraph 6, of the Convention, adopted by the fourteenth
meeting of States parties.
30. The Committee
recommends that the State party's next periodic report, due on 21 May 1997,
be a comprehensive report and that it address all the points raised in these