University of Minnesota

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee on the Elimination of
Racial Discrimination, Jamaica, U.N. Doc. A/48/18, paras. 152-161 (1993).




Forty-second session


Concluding observations of the Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination


152. At its 979th and 983rd meetings, held on 16 and 18 March 1993 (CERD/C/SR.979 and 983), the Committee reviewed the implementation of the Convention by Jamaica based on its fifth, sixth and seventh periodic reports submitted in one document (CERD/C/117/Add.4) and their consideration by the Committee (CERD/C/SR.741-742).

153. In his introductory statement, the representative of the State party recalled that in 1985 the representative of Jamaica had declared that the Government intended to adopt legislation to implement article 4 of the Convention, thus allowing the Government to withdraw its reservation to that article. Since then, the Government had decided not to adopt specific legislation, but instead to consider amending section 24 of the Constitution so as to take the Convention into account. The Constitutional Review Committee was still considering that amendment and, accordingly, the reservation to article 4 of the Convention was still in force.

154. Members of the Committee welcomed the presence of the State party's representative, but noted that he had little to report. They recalled that during consideration of previous reports, which had been prepared with the assistance of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, members of the Committee had asked for more detailed information with respect to the implementation of article 5 of the Convention and had deplored the absence of information about the poorest population groups in Jamaica. In connection with the latter, members indicated that the Committee needed socio-economic indicators to tell it whether ethnic minority groups were disproportionally represented among the unemployed, criminals, prison inmates, alcoholics, drug addicts and prostitutes.

155. With respect to article 4 of the Convention, members of the Committee emphasized that the adoption of measures to implement that article was particularly important.

156. With regard to article 5 of the Convention, members of the Committee requested that information be provided with respect to measures taken to implement its provisions dealing with economic and social rights. They recalled that, in the 1960s, banks and other employers had preferred light-skinned employees for jobs involving contacts with the public, thus discriminating against people with darker skin, and asked whether that was still the case.

157. The representative of Jamaica, replying to the questions asked and comments made by the members of the Committee, said that Jamaica had chosen not to submit its outstanding periodic reports because it had not yet been able to adopt the legislation required to implement article 4.

158. With regard to article 5 of the Convention, the representative said that, in the past, light-skinned people had, indeed, been preferred for certain jobs, but that was no longer the case; people of all colours were now treated on an equal basis.

Concluding observations

159. In concluding the review, the Committee expressed its regret that Jamaica had not submitted a report since 1985. It expressed its appreciation for the attendance of the representative of the State party and the explanation offered for the lapse in reporting.

160. The Committee expressed the hope that it would receive the next report in due time, together with a core document, and that the report would be in accordance with the reporting guidelines. In particular, it hoped that, by that time, Jamaica would be in a position to withdraw its reservation concerning article 4 of the Convention.

161. As the demographic information supplied with the previous report was in some respects problematic, Jamaica was requested to clarify the demographic aspects in its next report.




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