COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION
OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
6-24 March 2000
Consideration of reports
submitted by states
parties under article 9 of the convention
Concluding observations of the Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination
1. The Committee considered
the combined thirteenth and fourteenth periodic reports of Malta (CERD/C/337/Add.3)
at its 1379th and 1380th meetings (CERD/C/SR. 1379 and 1380), held
on 8 and 9 March 2000. At its 1396th meeting, held on 23 March 2000,
it adopted the following concluding observations.
2. The Committee welcomes
the submission of the report of Malta, which follows the general guidelines
for the presentation of State party reports and contains an update
of developments that have occurred since the consideration of the
previous periodic report. The Committee expresses its appreciation
to the delegation for the additional information provided during the
B. Positive aspects
3. The Committee welcomes
the amendments to the Press Act, as well as the measures envisaged
by the State party to amend the Criminal Code and the Police Force
Act, intended to cover aspects of article 4 of the Convention.
4. The Committee notes with satisfaction the amendment to the Citizenship
Act which allows dual citizenship and entitles foreign spouses of
Maltese nationals to be registered as nationals and the new law establishing
procedures regarding refugees and asylum-seekers.
5. The Committee welcomes
Malta's declaration in 1998 with respect to article 14 of the Convention.
C. Concerns and recommendations
6. The Committee is concerned
that article 4 of the Convention is not fully covered by the legislation.
The State party is recommended to take into account all aspects of
article 4 in the elaboration of the new legislation and to review
its declaration in relation to this article, made upon ratification
of the Convention.
7. Although only a few
cases of offences of a racial nature are reported, the Committee recommends
that the State party investigate them carefully and take steps to
prevent such incidents.
8. While noting the legislation
covering many aspects of article 5 of the Convention, the Committee
is concerned that the report does not sufficiently describe how this
legislation is applied in practice and requests the State party to
include such information in the next report.
9. It is noted with concern
that there have been claims of racial discrimination in housing, particularly
as regards rental accommodation. It is recommended that the State
party review the situation of rental accommodation with a view to
ensuring non-discrimination, and provide additional information on
this matter in its next periodic report to the Committee.
10. Concern is expressed
that the Employment Commission of Malta is empowered to consider only
allegations of discrimination based on political opinion. It is recommended
that the State party consider expanding the scope of the competence
of the Commission to cover all aspects of racial discrimination.
11. The State party is
encouraged to increase its efforts in disseminating information about
the duties and responsibilities of the Ombudsman, as well as about
the procedure for launching complaints concerning racial discrimination.
12. It is noted with concern
that the new Police Code (Malta Police Force Act) provides that officers
found to have treated persons in a discriminatory manner in the course
of their duties are subjected to disciplinary action only. It is recommended
that the State party take the necessary measures to ensure that criminal
charges are brought against police officers for acts violating the
provisions of the Convention.
13. The State party is
invited to provide additional information on the criteria for granting
temporary as opposed to permanent refugee status, specifically as
regards European and non-European asylum-seekers. The State party
is also invited to provide additional information on the implementation
of the recently enacted legislation regarding refugees and asylum-seekers
and the effect of the recent withdrawal by Malta of the geographical
limitation clause relating to non-European refugees.
14. 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.
15. 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, due on 26 June 2000, be an updating report and
that it address the points raised during the consideration of the
combined thirteenth and fourteenth periodic reports.