Convention Abbreviation: CERD
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
Islamic Republic of
1. The Committee considered
the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth periodic reports of the Islamic
Republic of Iran (CERD/C/338 Add.8) at its 1338th and 1339th meetings
(see CERD/C/SR.1338 and 1339), on 4 and 5 August 1999. At its 1357th
meeting (see CERD/C/SR.1357), on 18 August 1999, it adopted the following
2. The Committee welcomes the submission of the State party's periodic
report and the opportunity to continue a dialogue with the country. It
appreciates the presence of a high-level delegation, which serves as an
indication of the importance attached by the State party to its obligations
under the Convention. The Committee also notes with satisfaction that
the report constitutes a considerable improvement, in format as well as
in substance, compared to previous reports.
B. Positive aspects
3. In the light of the State party's point of view on the problems involved
in determining the ethnic composition of the population, the Committee
notes that the information given on the ethnic composition is to a considerable
extent in conformity with its previous requests and welcomes the efforts
of the State party to provide statistics and breakdowns to enable an identification
of different ethnic groups, including Azaris, Arabs, Kurds, Baluchis,
Lurs and Turkmen.
4. The Committee notes with
appreciation that the State party has a long tradition of receiving
and hosting on its territory a large number of refugees, particularly
of Afghan origin, and welcomes its efforts to provide the refugee community
with food, shelter and health services.
5. In the light of article
2, paragraph 2, of the Convention, the Committee welcomes the information
provided by the State party on the measures taken to eliminate discrimination
in areas inhabited by disadvantaged ethnic and tribal minorities and
groups. In particular, the Committee appreciates the introduction of
increased quotas for students from underdeveloped provinces in public
universities; the allocation of resources to promote research on the
root causes of the problems of economically, socially and culturally
disadvantages areas, such as the low number of girls enrolled in schools
or completing their education; the successful literacy campaign launched
in 1979 which has resulted in a significant rise in literacy among,
in particular, women from disadvantaged areas; and, steps taken by the
Ministry of Health and Medical Education to promote non-discrimination
in terms of health care.
6. The Committee welcomes
the approbation by the Council of Ministers of a Plan for the Comprehensive
Development of the Nomadic Regions and other measures taken to improve
the economic, social and cultural conditions of the nomadic population,
such as the establishment of mobile schools, and efforts made to ensure
the availability of adequate health service.
7. In relation to article
5 (c) of the Convention, the Committee welcomes information indicating
a high level of participation in both local and national elections,
including the population in regions inhabited by national and ethnic
minorities. It further notes with appreciation that ethnic and national
minorities, in particular the Kurds, are represented in the Parliament
in proportion to the demographic composition of the country.
8. The Committee notes with
appreciation the establishment of national institutions to promote,
review and monitor human rights enumerated in international instruments
and the Constitution, in particular the Islamic Human Rights Commission
and the Board for Follow-up and Monitoring the Implementation of the
C. Principal subjects of concern
9. Concern is expressed that the definition of racial discrimination found
in, inter alia, article 19 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic
of Iran and the 1977 Bill for the Punishment of the Propagation of Racial
Discrimination, is not in complete conformity with the broad definition
contained in article 1, paragraph 1 of the Convention, which refers to
any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour,
descent, or national or ethnic origin.
10. While the efforts of
the State party to improve the economic, social and cultural conditions
in disadvantaged areas are acknowledged, it is noted with concern that
some provinces largely inhabited by persons belonging to minorities,
such as Sistan/Baluchistan and other border areas, are still economically
11. It is noted that several
of the civil and political rights listed in article 5 (d) of the Convention,
such as the freedom of thought, conscience and religion and the freedom
of opinion and expression, are enjoyed subject to certain restrictions.
The Committee needs more information in order to assess whether these
restrictions are in conformity with the Convention.
12. Although the report
contains a good deal of information on legal provisions, sufficient
information is lacking on the practical implementation of and the enjoyment
of rights contained in articles 2, 4, 5 and 6 of the Convention, notably
regarding the incidences of ethnically motivated practices, the number
of complaints of racial discrimination and available remedies, as well
as the practice of the judiciary.
D. Suggestions and recommendations
13. The Committee recommends that the State party take appropriate steps
to bring its domestic legislation into full conformity with articles 1,
paragraph 1, 4 (b) and 5 of the Convention, and to ensure, in particular,
that legal stipulations providing for a difference in treatment do not
result in discriminatory treatment based on race, colour, descent, or
national or ethnic origin.
14. The Committee recommends
that the State party continue to promote economic, social and cultural
development in areas inhabited by disadvantaged ethnic and tribal minorities
and groups, and to encourage the participation of these minorities in
15. The Committee recommends
that the State party ensure that seminars, training courses and workshops
on human rights organized by the Islamic Human Rights Commission, the
Ministry of Education and universities include teaching about the Convention
and give due attention to the concluding observations of the Committee
and the relevant national legislation, in particular relating to availability
of domestic remedies.
16. In its next report,
the State party should include comprehensive information relating to
the practical implementation of the Convention, in particular on any
complaints relating to racial discrimination brought before the courts,
administrative bodies or the Islamic Human Rights Commission. The State
party should also provide information on available remedies, on relevant
case law and practice of the judiciary, on existing limitations as to
the equal enjoyment of rights and freedoms contained in article 5 of
the Convention, also, the Committee would like to receive further information
on the work of the Islamic Human Rights Commission and the Board for
Follow-up and Monitoring the Implementation of the Constitution.
17. The Committee suggests
that the State party take steps to ensure the wide dissemination of
the provisions of the Convention, as well as the State party's periodic
reports and the concluding observations of the Committee.
18. 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.
19. It is noted that the
State party has not made the declaration provided for in article 14
of the Convention, and some of the members of the Committee requested
that the possibility of such a declaration be considered.
20. The Committee recommends
that the State party's next periodic report, which is due on 4 January
2000, be an updating report, taking into account the points raised in
the present observations.