COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
6-23 March 2001
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 initial report of Georgia (CERD/C/369/Add.1), which was due on 2
July 2000, during its fifty-eighth session at its 1453rd and 1454th
meeting (CERD/C/SR.1453 and CERD/C/SR.1454), held on 15 and 16 March
2001. At its 1462nd meeting, held on 22 March 2001, it adopted the following
2. The Committee welcomes
the initial report submitted by the State party and the additional oral
information provided as well as the opportunity thus offered to initiate
a dialogue with the State party. It expresses its satisfaction with
the quality of the report and its conformity with the reporting guidelines
of the Committee. It notes as very positive the fact that the State
party submitted the report within one year of ratification.
B. Factors and difficulties impeding the implementation of the Convention
3. The Committee recognizes
that Georgia has been confronted with ethnic and political conflicts
in Abkhazia and South Ossetia since independence. Due to the lack of
governmental authority, the State party has difficulty in exercising
its jurisdiction with regard to the protection of human rights and the
implementation of the Convention in those regions.
4. In addition, the situations
in South Ossetia and Abkhazia have resulted in discrimination against
people of different ethnic origins, including a large number of internally
displaced persons and refugees. On repeated occasions, attention has
been drawn to the obstruction by the Abkhaz authorities of the voluntary
return of displaced populations, and several recommendations have been
issued by the Security Council to facilitate the free movement of refugees
and internally displaced persons.
C. Positive aspects
5. The Committee notes with
satisfaction that, notwithstanding the difficulties resulting from conflicts
in Abkhazia and South Ossetia and the challenges linked to the period
of political transition, the State party has made important progress
in the area of legislative reform. It notes with interest that Georgia
has ratified a great number of international and regional human rights
6. The Committee also notes
with satisfaction that, upon 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 and can be invoked directly before the courts.
7. The Committee welcomes
the establishment of various institutions for the promotion and protection
of human rights, such as the Ombudsman and the Committee for Human Rights
and Ethnic Relations. It notes with special interest the creation of
the Committee on Civil Integration, which deals specifically with minority
concerns. In this connection, the Committee notes with interest the
statement of the delegation during the dialogue that the Committee on
Civil Integration is developing a concept of civil integration in Georgia,
which would include several laws concerning national minorities, such
as language rights. The Committee equally welcomes the creation of human
rights commissions in many sakrebulo (local elective bodies).
D. Concerns and recommendations
8. The Committee notes that
the Constitution takes into account the provisions of article 2 of the
Convention. However, the Committee regrets the lack of information provided
on measures for the effective implementation of the Convention which
the State party is expected to take. Furthermore, the Committee regrets
that, although the report notes the condemnation of racial discrimination
in all its forms by the State party, racial segregation and apartheid
are not expressly condemned as stipulated by article 3 of the Convention.
9. While noting the information
that the Constitution contains provisions to ensure the development
and the protection of minorities and to guarantee their full and equal
enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, the Committee expresses
its concern at the failure of Parliament in 1994 to adopt a special
law on national minorities. Taking note of the information provided
by the delegation as to the aims of the Committee on Civil Integration
in this regard, the Committee encourages the State party to continue
to provide its utmost support to this process and to adopt legislation
10. Concern is expressed
that the legislation currently in force in Georgia does not fully cover
the requirements of article 4 of the Convention. The Committee is concerned
at the absence of provisions explicitly banning the advocacy of national,
racial and religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination,
as well as racist propaganda and organizations. The Committee considers
that the national legislation currently in force is not sufficient to
comply with the requirements of article 4 (b), as the latter covers
the offence of promoting and inciting racial discrimination, which may
fall short of "fomenting ethnic, local, religious or social strife"
as provided for in article 5 (2) of the State party's law on political
associations of citizens. The Committee emphasizes that, in the absence
of the establishment of racial discrimination as a specific offence,
it might not be punishable and would be difficult to prosecute. The
Committee recommends that the State party take steps to ensure that
national legislation is in full conformity with article 4 of the Convention.
11. With regard to article
142 (1) of the new Criminal Code, which deals with the infringement
of equal rights on account of, inter alia, race, skin colour,
language, sex, national, ethnic, social or class origin, the Committee
is concerned that this provision is qualified by the requirement that
the infringement of equal rights result in a substantial violation of
human rights. The Committee notes the statement by the delegation that
serious consideration should indeed be given to reviewing this provision
and encourages the State party to initiate the necessary steps.
12. The Committee recommends
that the State party include in the next periodic reports statistics
on cases in which the relevant provisions of the Civil and Criminal
Codes have been applied. The Committee reminds the State party that
the absence of complaints and legal action by victims of racial discrimination
could possibly be an indication of a lack of awareness of available
legal remedies or a result of the absence of relevant specific legislation.
It is therefore essential to provide for the relevant provisions in
the national legislation and to inform the public of the availability
of all legal remedies.
13. In the context of the
implementation of article 5, the Committee expresses its concern at
the under-representation of ethnic minorities in Parliament. The Committee
notes with concern the barriers to participation of minorities in political
institutions, for instance with regard to the limitation on the participation
of minorities in local executive bodies due to a lack of knowledge of
the Georgian language. The Committee recommends that the State party
take all necessary steps in order to increase the representation of
national minorities in Parliament and in local bodies.
14. The Committee notes
the commitment undertaken by the State party to repatriate Meskhetians
who had been expelled from southern Georgia to the Central Asian Republics
of the Soviet Union. The Committee recommends that the State party take
the necessary measures to facilitate the return of Meskhetians and the
acquisition of citizenship by them.
15. Expressing its satisfaction
at the positive measures taken by the State party to establish national
human rights institutions, the Committee requests that, in its next
periodic report, the State party provide additional information on the
role, responsibilities and achievements of national institutions such
as the Commission on Civil Integration, the Committee for Human Rights
and Ethnic Relations and the Ombudsman in monitoring treaty obligations
and in particular with regard to activities for the integration of minorities
and the promotion of human rights.
16. The Committee notes
the absence of provisions with regard to stateless persons and encourages
the State party to take appropriate measures to remedy this situation.
17. The Committee recommends
to the State party that its reports and the present concluding observations
be widely distributed to the public. The Committee also recommends the
dissemination of the text of the Convention and the organization of
education and training programmes aimed at all sectors of society, especially
law enforcement officials, regarding human rights in general and the
provisions of the Convention in particular.
18. It is noted that the
State party has not made the declaration provided for in article 14
of the Convention, and the Committee recommends that the possibility
of making such a declaration be considered.
19. 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 State Parties.
20. The Committee also recommends
that the State party submit its second periodic report jointly with
its third periodic report, due on 2 July 2004, and that it address all
of the points raised during the consideration of the initial report.