COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
4 – 22 March 2002
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE 9 OF
Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination
of Racial Discrimination
1. The Committee considered the eight to fifteenth periodic reports of
Jamaica, submitted as one document (CERD/C/383/Add.1), at its 1511th and
1512th meetings (CERD/C/SR.1511 and CERD/C/SR.1512), held on 14 and 15
March 2002. At its 1521st meeting, held on 21 March 2002, it adopted the
following concluding observations.
2. The Committee welcomes the submission of the eight to fifteenth periodic
reports of Jamaica as well as the additional information provided by the
delegation during its oral presentation. While regretting the limited
information provided in the report, including with respect to follow-up
to previous concluding observations, the Committee expressed appreciation
for the opportunity to renew its dialogue with the State party after a
lapse of more than eight years.
B. Positive aspects
3. The Committee welcomes the enactment of the Public Defenders (Interim)
Act (1999), which created the office of the Public Defender to protect
and enforce human rights and provide a remedy for the infringement of
C. Concerns and recommendations
4. The Committee notes that the State party has undertaken a constitutional
review process intended to, inter alia, provide for the enactment of
Ratification of Treaties Act to ensure the incorporation of international
treaty obligations into domestic legislation. Noting that this activity
has been underway for some time, the Committee encourages the State
to take further measures to finalise the review process and to submit
relevant information concerning this matter in its next periodic report.
The Committee also wishes to receive more specific information concerning
the implementation of the "fundamental rights and freedoms" provided
in section 24 of the Constitution, especially those aimed at addressing
based on race, colour or ethnic origin.
5. The Committee reminds the State party that it has difficulties in accepting
the mere assertion made by States parties as to the absence of racial
discrimination in their territory. The Committee also reminds the State
party that the absence of complaints by victims of racial discrimination
could indicate a lack of awareness of available legal remedies. It encourages
the State party to reconsider its position concerning racial discrimination
in its territory and to implement effective measures to address direct
and indirect discrimination. Moreover, the Committee recommends that the
State party take appropriate measures to inform the public of the availability
of legal remedies for victims of racial discrimination. It further requests
the State party to include in its next periodic report statistical information
on possible prosecutions in cases related to racial discrimination.
6. The Committee is concerned about the absence in the State party
of specific legislative, administrative and other measures which aim
effect to article 4 of the Convention, especially article 4 (b), prohibiting
racist organizations. The Committee underlines the obligations of the
State party under the Convention and reiterates its view as to the
role of such measures. In this connection, the Committee also draws
the attention of the State party to its General Recommendation VII
and General Recommendation XV of 1993, affirming the compatibility
of the prohibition of the dissemination of ideas based upon racial
or hatred with the right to freedom of opinion and expression. The
Committee urges the State party to give due consideration to adopting
legislation to comply with article 4, particularly article 4 (b) of
the Convention as a matter of priority.
7. The Committee again suggests that the State party consider withdrawing
its reservation to article 4 of the Convention.
8. It is regretted that the report did not include adequate information
on article 5 of the Convention, which would enable the Committee to effectively
examine the situation of civil and political rights as well as economic,
social and cultural rights as they relate to the various ethnic groups
in Jamaica. The Committee recommends that the State party include in its
forthcoming report information concerning the measures taken to implement
article 5 of the Convention.
9. The Committee expresses concern about the limited information, including
relevant demographic statistical data, provided in the State party report.
While noting the State party's statement that it does not compile data
based on race and ethnicity, the Committee recalls the importance of data,
which enables it to assess the situation of minorities in a given state.
In this regard, it urges the State party to reconsider its position and
to provide information in its next periodic report on the following issues:
(a) the ethnic composition of the population and in particular statistical
data relating to the numerically small ethnic groups; (b) disagreggated
data on the employment of different racial groups in government service
in different sectors.
10. The Committee notes the absence of any reference in the report to
the contribution of civil society organizations in the promotion of ethnic
harmony and expresses its hope that the next periodic report will reflect
the contribution of such organizations, particularly those dealing with
issues related to combating racial discrimination, including raising awareness
about the Convention.
11. The Committee recommends that the State party take into account the
relevant parts of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action when
implementing the Convention in the domestic legal order, in particular
in respect of articles 2 to 7 of the Convention, and that it include in
its next periodic report information on action plans or other measures
they have taken to implement the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action
at national level.
12. The Committee recommends that the State party consider the possibility
of making the optional declaration provided for in article 14 of the Convention.
13. 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 State Parties to the Convention and endorsed
by the General Assembly in its resolution 47/111 of 16 December 1992 (CERD/C/304/
14. The Committee recommends that the State party's reports be made readily
available to the public from the time they are submitted and that the
Committee's observations on them are similarly publicized.
15. The Committee recommends that the State party submit its sixteenth
periodic report together with the seventeenth report, due on 4 July 2004,
as an updating report responding to all the points raised in these concluding