COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION
OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES
PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE 9 OF THE CONVENTION
observations of the Committee on
the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
1. At its 1203rd and
1204th meetings, held on 14 March 1997, the Committee on the Elimination
of Racial Discrimination considered the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth
periodic reports of Iraq (CERD/C/240/Add.3) and adopted, at its
1230th and 1231st meetings, held on 13 and 14 August 1997, the following
2. The Committee welcomes
the presentation of the State party's eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth
periodic reports, which had been overdue because of the difficult
situation in the country since 1991, and appreciates the opportunity
to continue the dialogue with the State party. The report did not
fully follow the guidelines for the presentation of reports and
lacked concrete information on the practical implementation of the
Convention and laws bearing on issues concerning the Convention.
3. The Committee notes
that the State party has not made the declaration provided for in
article 14 of the Convention, and some of its members requested
that the possibility of making the declaration be considered.
B. Factors and difficulties impeding the implementation
of the Convention
4. It is recognized
that the economic and social hardships in Iraq following the international
embargo since the Gulf war and the continuing situation in the Northern
Governorates which precludes Iraq from exercising its jurisdiction
makes more difficult the full implementation of the Convention.
In particular, it is noted that, according to reports of the World
Health Organization in March 1996 (WHO/EHA 96.1) and of the Food
and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1995, that
the economic sanctions applied against Iraq have resulted in a significant
lack of basic foods and medicine and that the population, especially
children and elderly people, have suffered gravely from malnutrition
and lack of medical care, with fatal consequences. In this context,
it is noted with grave concern that, according to the report of
the Secretary-General of 10 March 1997 (S/1997/206), Security Council
resolution 986 (1995) and the memorandum of understanding, which
are meant to provide for the delivery of humanitarian goods in exchange
for oil, have still not been fully implemented. The Committee is
of the opinion that the withholding of basic supplies of food and
medicine in itself constitutes a grave violation of human rights.
This, however, does not absolve the Government of Iraq from its
responsibility to implement the Convention.
C. Positive aspects
5. It is noted with
appreciation that, according to the legal system of Iraq, the Convention
forms an integral part of the national legislation and may be directly
invoked before the courts.
6. The laws and regulations
providing for the autonomy of the Kurdish minority in the northern
parts of Iraq and the regulations concerning the protection of the
cultural identity of several minority groups in Iraq, including
the protection of languages spoken by them, are noted with appreciation.
D. Principal subjects of concern
7. The human rights
situation in Iraq with respect to the implementation of the Convention,
according to certain reports, in particular the report of the Special
Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights (E/CN.4/1997/57), is
a matter of grave concern. Equally, the assessments made by the
Commission on Human Rights in its resolution 1997/60 are a matter
of grave concern. Iraq is a party to most of the major human rights
agreements, however, the implementation of the obligations Iraq
has accepted under these instruments, including the Convention,
is open to improvement.
8. The Committee is
concerned that Security Council resolutions dealing with matters
relating to the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination
have not been fully implemented.
9. It is noted with
regret that the Kurdish population living in the Northern Governorates
was, because of the present prevailing situation and restraints
imposed upon the exercise of the jurisdiction of Iraq, unable to
participate in the popular referendum in accordance with Revolution
Command Council Decree No. 85 of 1995.
10. Concern is expressed
about the situation of the inhabitants of the southern marshes and
further information is requested about the status of the inhabitants
of that area and their way of living.
11. It is noted with
concern that the provisions of articles 200, 203, 204 and 208 of
the Penal Code do not reflect the requirements of article 4 of the
E. Suggestions and recommendations
12. The Committee requests
the State party to provide in its next report detailed information
addressing the concerns expressed by the Committee.
13. The Committee recommends
that Iraq review its policy concerning respect for and implementation
of international human rights instruments, in particular the International
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
14. The Committee recommends
that Iraq comply with the relevant Security Council resolutions
calling for the release of all Kuwaiti nationals and nationals of
other States who might still be held in detention, and to provide
all information available on missing individuals of such States.
15. The Committee recommends
that the State party review its legislation in order to make it
comply with the requirements of article 4 of the Convention.
16. The Committee requests
the State party to provide economic and social data on the situation
of ethnic minorities.
17. The Committee requests
the State party to substantiate its statement that the provisions
of the Convention may be directly invoked in the courts.
18. The Committee recommends
that the State party provide information about the political, economic
and geographical structure of the country in a separate core document
and that the next report of Iraq follow more closely the guidelines
19. The Committee recommends
that the State party ratify the amendments to article 8, paragraph
6, of the Convention adopted at the 14th meeting of States parties.
20. The Committee recommends
that the State party's next periodic report be a comprehensive report
submitted so as to be dealt with by the Committee at its summer
session of 1998 and that it address all the points raised in the
present concluding observations as well as in Commission on Human
Rights resolution 1997/60.