COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION
OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
2 – 27 August 1999
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 tenth to thirteenth periodic reports of Haiti (CERD/C/336/Add.1)
at its 1334th and 1335th meetings (see CERD/C/SR.1334 and 1335), on
2 and 3 August 1999. At its 1354th meeting (see CERD/C/SR.1354), on
16 August 1999, it adopted the following concluding observations.
2. The Committee welcomes the tenth, eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth
periodic reports submitted by the Government of Haiti in one document
as well as the opportunity thus offered to renew its dialogue with the
State party. Although the Committee welcomes that the report followed
the guidelines, it is of the view that the information in the report was
too concise and that the report did not sufficiently address the Committee's
concluding observations relating to the previous report of the State party.
The Committee is encouraged by the presence of a high-ranking delegation
and expresses its appreciation for the constructive dialogue with the
delegation and the additional information provided in response to the
B. Factors and difficulties impeding the implementation
of the Convention
3. The Committee notes that the situation of human rights in the State
party has improved, despite the continuing threats to its political and
economic stability. In this connection, the Committee draws attention
to the negative effects of the current political, economic and social
crisis in the State party which have exacerbated discrimination among
the different ethnic groups of the population. These factors are significant
obstacles to the full implementation of the Convention.
C. Positive aspects
4. The Committee expresses its satisfaction with the information provided
in the State party's report that international instruments, including
the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination, become an integral part of its domestic legislation and
are binding on the judicial and other authorities of the State.
5. The Committee notes that
the State party's Constitution (1987) embodies the principles enshrined
in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including the prohibition
of racial discrimination.
6. The Committee notes with
appreciation the State party's implementation of an international cooperation
programme in the field of human rights in cooperation with the Office
of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
D. Principal subjects of concern
7. Concern is expressed at the State party's repeated assertion that there
is no racial discrimination as defined in article 1 of the Convention.
In this connection, the Committee is of the opinion that the absence of
complaints and legal action by victims of racism may possibly be an indicator
of a lack of awareness of the existence of available legal remedies in
cases of racial discrimination, and that members of the public may not
be sufficiently aware of the protection against racial discrimination
provided by the Convention.
8. While noting that the
State party's domestic legislation (Decree of February 1981) makes all
acts of racial discrimination punishable by law, concern is expressed
at the lack of information on the implementation of article 4 of the
Convention, especially on how this principle is applied by judges, lawyers
and civil servants.
9. Although it is noted
that the State party's Constitution (1987) guarantees the enjoyment,
without discrimination, of most of the rights enshrined in article 5
of the Convention, concern is expressed about reports of human rights
violations committed by members of the Haitian National Police and that
too little is done to prevent persons perpetrating, with impunity, acts
of violence related to racial discrimination. Concern is also expressed
at the lack of domestic legislation to prevent acts of racial discrimination
by individuals in implementation of articles 2 (1) (d) and 5 (e) of
10. While noting that the
State party's Civil Code (arts. 1168 and 1169) establishes a legal mechanism
for reviewing complaints of racial discrimination on the part of the
State, concern remains that this legislation does not fully reflect
the provisions of article 6 of the Convention.
11. With regard to the implementation
of article 7 of the Convention, concern is expressed that the Convention
has not yet been translated into Creole, since this is the other official
E. Suggestions and recommendations
12. The Committee recommends that the State party in its next periodic
report provide full information on the demographic composition of the
population in the light of paragraph 8 of the reporting guidelines, together
with socio-economic indicators on the situation of the various ethnic
13. Emphasizing the role
of the judicial system in eliminating racial discrimination, while noting
the current reforms to that system, the Committee requests the State
party to include in its next periodic report a description of the existing
legal mechanisms available to lodge complaints in cases of racial discrimination
(e.g., in the light of the decree of 4 February 1981 and the relevant
articles of the Civil Code). In this connection, the Committee further
recommends that the State party review its domestic legislation in accordance
with articles 4 and 6 of the Convention.
14. In the light of articles
2 and 5 of the Convention, the Committee recommends that the State party
enact legislation for the prevention of racial discrimination in the
private sector. In this connection, the Committee recommends that the
State party consider the establishment of a national institution to
facilitate the implementation of the Convention, in accordance with
the Committee's general recommendation XVII.
15. The Committee recommends
that the State party include in its next report information on the restrictions
upon foreigners of different racial or ethnic origin and upon non-native
Haitians, with respect to the enjoyment of the rights enumerated in
article 5 of the Convention.
16. The Committee recommends
that the State party consider providing education and training on racial
tolerance and human rights issues to law enforcement officials, in accordance
with article 7 of the Convention and general recommendation XIII of
the Committee. In addition, the Committee suggests that the State party
review its disciplinary action against perpetrators of police brutality
with a view to reinforcing measures against such perpetrators.
17. The Committee requests
the State party to include information in its next report on measures
undertaken or envisaged for improving public awareness of the Convention.
The Committee further suggests that the State party may wish to avail
itself of the technical assistance offered under the advisory services
and technical assistance programme of the Office of the United Nations
High Commissioner for Human Rights.
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 requested that
the possibility of such a declaration be considered. The Committee also
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.
19. The Committee recommends
that the State party's next periodic report, due on 18 January 2000,
be an updating report and that it address the points raised during the
consideration of the report.