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
1. The Committee
considered the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth periodic reports
of the Holy See, due on 31 May 1994, 1996 and 1998 respectively and
submitted in one document (CERD/C/338/Add.11), at its 1425th meeting
(CERD/C/SR.1425), held on 17 August 2000. At its 1433rd meeting (CERD/C/SR.1433),
held on 23 August 2000, it adopted the following concluding observations.
2. The Committee
notes the submission of the report of the Holy See which followed the
general guidelines for the presentation of States parties' reports.
The Committee is encouraged by the constructive dialogue it had with
the delegation and the positive reactions to the suggestions and recommendations
made during the discussion.
3. The Committee
notes that the unique structure and nature of the State party may limit
the directness of the measures that can be taken to fully implement
B. Positive aspects
4. The Committee
notes with satisfaction that the laws and teachings of the Catholic
Church promote tolerance, friendly coexistence and multiracial integration
and that Pope John Paul II has in a number of speeches openly condemned
all forms of racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia manifested
through racial tensions and conflicts around the world. The Committee
welcomes the solemn request of His Holiness for pardon for past acts
and omissions of the Church which may have encouraged and/or perpetuated
discrimination against particular groups of people around the world.
5. The information
given by Vatican Radio and Osservatore Romano (the Vatican's
daily newspaper) in promoting the principles of the Convention is welcomed.
6. The Committee
welcomes the efforts of the State party and encourages it to continue
its active role in promoting conflict prevention and resolution as well
as dialogue between and within religions. In particular, it notes the
positive initiatives undertaken by the State party to promote peace
and bring an end to ethnic conflicts. The State party is also encouraged
to continue its initiatives in this regard.
is expressed for the contributions made by the Pontifical Council for
the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People through, inter
alia, declarations and programmes of action to promote non-discrimination
against refugees and migrants in various parts of the world. In this
context, the Committee notes the efforts undertaken by the State party
to promote the rights of the Roma populations.
8. The Committee
expresses its appreciation for the role of the Catholic Church in promoting
education, particularly in developing countries. The Committee further
welcomes the opening up of Catholic schools to children from different
religious creeds as well as the promotion of tolerance, peace and integration
through education. The Committee notes with satisfaction that in many
countries where the majority of the population is non-Christian, Catholic
schools are places where children and young people of different faiths,
cultures, social classes or ethnic backgrounds come into contact with
C. Concerns and recommendations
9. The Committee
recommends that the State party implement, as appropriate, the Convention,
and invites it to provide in its next periodic report information on
the relationship of article 4 to Canon Law and Penal Law in Vatican
10. The Committee
notes the clarification outlined in paragraph 106 of the report concerning
the involvement of ecclesiastics, against the precepts of the Catholic
Church, in the genocide in Rwanda. The State party should cooperate
fully with the national and international judicial authorities in connection
with prosecutions relating to the Rwanda genocide.
11. While welcoming
the extensive statistical information provided in the State party's
report concerning the membership and administrative structure of the
Roman Catholic Church as well as Catholic educational establishments
globally, the Committee invites the State party to provide data on the
inhabitants and administrative structure of Vatican City State.
12. 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.
13. The Committee
recommends that the State party undertake all appropriate measures to
ensure that the report and these concluding observations are widely
distributed to the public. The Committee further recommends that the
State party's next periodic report be an updating report and that it
address the points raised during the consideration of the report.