COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION
OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
31 July - 25 August 2000
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. The Committee considered
the third and fourth periodic reports of the Czech Republic (CERD/C/372/Add.1)
at its 1411th and 1412th meetings (CERD/C/SR.1411 and 1412), on 7 and
8 August 2000, and at its 1419th meeting (CERD/C/SR.1419), on 11 August
2000, adopted the following concluding observations.
2. The Committee welcomes the comprehensive report presented by the Government
of the Czech Republic, in accordance with the Committee's guidelines,
which contains relevant information about the implementation of the provisions
of the Convention in the State party. The Committee appreciates the frank
and constructive dialogue with the State party delegation, composed of
representatives of a wide range of governmental offices, as well as the
detailed answers to questions raised and concerns expressed during the
consideration of the report.
B. Positive aspects
3. The Committee welcomes the additional amendments to the Act (194/1999)
on the Acquisition and Loss of Citizenship (September 1999), which has
helped to resolve problems relating to the acquisition of Czech citizenship
for former citizens of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic.
4. The Committee welcomes
the establishment of new advisory bodies on matters relevant to combating
racism and intolerance, in particular the Government's Commissioner
for Human Rights and the Council for Human Rights. In addition, the
Committee takes note of the process to enact the draft bill for the
creation of a Public Rights Protector (Ombudsman), which is expected
to enhance the protection of citizens against any inappropriate treatment
by the State administration, including acts of racial discrimination.
5. The launching and implementation
of the "Tolerance Project" (December 1999- June 2000), a public awareness
campaign intended to prevent racial discrimination and increase tolerance,
as well as other programmes in the field of human rights education are
regarded as significant measures in the implementation of article 7
of the Convention.
6. The Committee also welcomes
the Act on the System of Primary and Secondary Schools (1999), which
facilitates the entry of special school graduates into secondary schools,
a measure that is designed to benefit Roma cildren.
7. The Committee welcomes
the steps taken by the authorities of the State party to make the declaration
provided for in article 14 of the Convention, and encourages the State
party to finalize this process as soon as possible.
8. The publication on an
Internet site of the Ministry of Justice of the initial and second periodic
reports as well as the concluding observations and other related documents
relating to the dialogue between the State party and the Committee is
noted with appreciation.
C. Concerns and recommendations
9. While the Committee welcomes
measures taken by the State party for the promotion and the protection
of the human rights of the Roma minority, in particular the ones included
in the "Concept of Government Policy Towards Members of the Roma Community"
(June 2000), it remains concerned by the fact that the Roma population
continue to be subjected to discrimination in the fields of housing,
education and employment. The Committee recommends that the State party
include in its next periodic report information on the impact of the
measures taken to improve the situation of the Roma minority, especially
the ones designed to eliminate their social exclusion.
10. With regard to article
3 of the Convention, concern is expressed about the existing situations
of de facto segregation in the areas of housing and education of the
Roma population. In particular, concern is expressed at measures taken
by some local authorities leading to segregation and at the practice
of school segregation by which many Roma children are placed in special
schools, offering them lesser opportunities for further study or employment.
The Committee recommends that the State party undertake effective measures
to eradicate promptly practices of racial segregation, including the
placement of a disproportionate number of Roma children in special schools.
11. The Committee is concerned
that some organizations, including political parties, promoting racial
hatred and superiority are hidden behind legally registered civic associations
whose members are promoting xenophobia and racism. Concern is also expressed
at the ineffective implementation of existing legislation to prosecute
the perpetrators of incitement to racial hatred and support to racist
movements. In light of article 4 of the Convention, the Committee recommends
that the State party strengthen law enforcement to ensure that these
organizations are dismantled and their members prosecuted.
12. While noting the information
provided by the State party on the number of convictions for racially
motivated offences, the Committee is concerned by the increasing number
of incidents of racially motivated violence against minority groups,
in particular against members of the Roma community, many of which may
not even be reported. The Committee recommends that the State party
strengthen the measures already undertaken to intensify enforcement
of the criminal law against racially motivated crimes.
13. The Committee reiterates
its concern at the lack of criminal, civil or administrative law provisions
expressly outlawing racial discrimination in education, health care,
social care, the penitentiary system, as well as in the private sphere.
The Committee recommends that the State party undertake legislative
reform to safeguard the enjoyment, without any form of discrimination,
by all segments of the population, of the economic, social and cultural
rights listed in article 5 of the Convention. It further recommends
that such reform should include the provision of adequate reparation
for victims of racial discrimination.
14. The Committee reiterates
its concern about the lack of effectiveness and confidence in the ability
of the criminal judicial system to prevent and combat racial crimes.
In this connection, concern is also expressed about the degrading treatment
by the police of members of minority groups. The Committee recommends
the continuation and strengthening of training programmes for police
and all officials in charge of implementing the law on issues related
to the implementation of the Convention. The Committee reminds the State
party of the Committee's general recommendation XIII relating to the
implementation of articles 2 and 7 of the Convention.
15. With regard to article
7 of the Convention, the Committee is of the opinion that the measures
taken by the State party in the field of teaching, education, culture
and information to combat racial discrimination should be intensified.
In this regard, the Committee recommends that the State party continue
and extend its educational programmes in order to raise awareness of
the population at large of all aspects relating to racism and racial
16. 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.
17. The Committee recommends
that the State party ensure the wide dissemination of the text of the
Convention and continue to make its periodic reports readily available
to the public from the time they are submitted, and that the Committee's
concluding observations on them be similarly publicized.
18 .The Committee recommends
that the State party's next periodic report, due on 22 February 2002,
be an updating report and that it address the points raised in the present