COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION
OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
2 – 27 August 1999
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 fourth to eighth periodic reports of the Dominican Republic (CERD/C/331/Add.1)
at its 1364th and 1365th meetings (see CERD/C/SR.1364 and 1365), on 23
and 24 August 1999, and adopted, at its 1369th meeting (see CERD/C/SR.1369),
on 26 August 1999, the following concluding observations.
2. The Committee takes note of the submission by the Dominican Republic
of its long overdue report. It expresses its satisfaction over the resumption
of the dialogue with the State party and the willingness expressed by the
delegation to comply with its reporting obligations under the Convention.
It also welcomes the supplementary information provided by the State party
in writing as well as during the oral presentation. The Committee regrets,
however, that the report did not follow the Committee's reporting guidelines
and lacked important information about the implementation of the Convention.
The Committee also regrets that the State party has not yet submitted a
B. Positive aspects
3. The Committee takes note of the information provided by the State party
on the ethnic composition of the population and on domestic legislation
governing the acquisition of nationality and education programmes intended
to combat racial prejudices, although this information was not complete.
4. The Committee takes note
of the recent acceptance by the State party of the jurisdiction of the
Inter-American Court of Human Rights, as well as the decision of the Supreme
Court that regulates the procedure for the exercise of the right of protection
in cases of violation of fundamental rights by public authorities.
C. Principal subjects of concern
5. Concern is expressed at statements contained in the periodic report that
no racial prejudice exists in the Dominican Republic and that the State
party never perceived any need to condemn racial discrimination within the
meaning of article 2 of the Convention, as no country can claim the total
absence of racial discrimination in its territory or be confident that it
will not appear in the future.
6. Concern is also expressed
about the situation of the large number of Haitians living in the country,
the majority of them illegally, in view of information that they, and
in particular women and children, are often unable to enjoy the most basic
economic and social rights, such as housing, education and health services.
7. The Committee is also concerned
at reports that racial prejudices exist not only against Haitians but
also against the darker-skinned Dominicans.
8. The inadequacy of the present
legislation, including the Penal Code, to enable the State party fully
to discharge its obligations under article 4 of the Convention is a further
matter of concern.
D. Suggestions and recommendations
9. The Committee recommends the State party to take the necessary steps
to meet the requirements of articles 2 and 5 of the Convention.
10. The Committee recommends
that in the current process of reform of the Penal Code the provisions
of article 4 of the Convention be taken into consideration.
11. The Committee recommends
that the State party take urgent measures to ensure the enjoyment by persons
of Haitian origin of their economic, social and cultural rights without
discrimination. Efforts should be made, in particular, to improve their
living conditions in the bateyes (shanty towns).
12. The Committee recommends
that the State party address the requirements of article 6 of the Convention
by facilitating access to the courts and other competent institutions
for victims of racial discrimination and ensuring that the perpetrators
of racist acts are brought to trial and the victims obtain adequate reparation
13. The Committee recommends
that the State party take all appropriate measures to give effect to the
provisions of article 7 of the Convention, with a view to combating racial
prejudices in society and promoting understanding and tolerance among
individuals and groups with different characteristics in terms of race,
colour, descent or national or ethnic origin.
14. Measures should be taken
to ensure that law enforcement officials receive appropriate training
in matters pertaining to the Convention. The Committee recalls in this
respect its general recommendation XIII.
15. The Committee requests
that the State party include, in its next periodic report, information
about the implications of the proposed social security scheme for the
prevention of racial discrimination. It also requests information about
the reform of the Penal Code currently under way, in particular with respect
to matters pertaining to the Convention.
16. The State party should
take all appropriate steps to acquaint the population with the Convention
and to publish the periodic reports as well as the Committee's concluding
17. 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.
18. 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
the declaration be considered.
19. The Committee recommends
that the State party's next periodic report, due on 24 June 2000, be a
comprehensive one, follow the reporting guidelines and take account of
the points raised in these concluding observations.