COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION
OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
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 ninth to the thirteenth periodic reports of Nepal (CERD/C/298/Add.1),
at its 1292nd meeting, on 13 August 1998. At its 1301st meeting, on
20 August 1998, it adopted the following concluding observations.
2. The Committee welcomes
the opportunity to resume the dialogue with Nepal after a lapse of 11
years. The Committee notes with appreciation that the report submitted
by the State party is a comprehensive document complying with the Committee's
general guidelines. The Committee welcomes the frankness and self-critical
approach of the report and the constructive dialogue with the State
B. Factors and difficulties impeding the
implementation of the Convention
3. It is noted that Nepal,
one of the least developed countries of the world, is a highly multi-ethnic
and multicultural society. It is also noted that the widespread poverty
and the presence of a large number of refugees from neighbouring countries
may affect the full implementation of the Convention in the State party.
C. Positive aspects
4. The enactment of Nepal's
new Constitution (1990), which guarantees basic human rights to every
citizen, creates a constitutional monarchy and a system of multi-party
democracy, and establishes an independent judiciary, is welcomed. The
incorporation of the Convention in the Nepalese Constitution (1990)
is appreciated by the Committee.
5. The enactment of the
law establishing a Human Rights Commission in 1997 as well as the establishment
of the Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Population and Social Committees
of Parliament are welcomed.
6. The State party's openness
and willingness to collaborate with non-governmental organizations in
its efforts to eliminate racial discrimination are appreciated by the
7. The willingness of the
State party to disseminate its report as well as the concluding observations
of the Committee among non-governmental organizations and the public
at large is noted with appreciation.
D. Principal subjects of concern
8. The Committee notes the
lack of clarity of the information provided by the report on the demographic
composition of State party and, in particular, on the composition of
the population according to caste, religion and geographical regions.
9. The Committee expresses
its concern at the insufficiency of information provided on the full
implementation of article 4 of the Convention, especially on how this
principle is reflected in other domestic legislation (for example, the
Penal Code) and is applied by judges, lawyers and civil servants.
10. The Committee, having
noted that the caste system in Nepal has been abolished by law, nevertheless
expresses its concern that this system still functions and appears embedded
in parts of the Nepalese culture. In this connection, the Committee
is also concerned at the limitation that this system imposes on the
effective enjoyment by all groups of the rights enshrined in article
5 of the Convention.
11. With regard to the implementation
of article 6 of the Convention, the Committee expresses its concern
at the lack of clarity concerning the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court
vis-à-vis lower courts in cases of racial discrimination, and that members
of the public may not be sufficiently aware of the protections against
racial discrimination provided by the Convention and by local remedies.
In this connection, the lack of information on complaints concerning
racially motivated offences as well as the absence in courts of lawsuits
alleging racial discrimination may indicate that awareness of the Convention
is not high among judges, lawyers and the public at large.
12. The Committee is concerned
about the situation and condition of the 100,000 refugees from Bhutan
E. Suggestions and recommendations
13. The Committee recommends
that the State party in its next report provide fuller information on
the demographic composition of the population in the light of paragraph
8 of the reporting guidelines. The Committee requests the State party
to provide information in its next periodic report on the implementation
of practical measures to eradicate the practice of the caste system.
14. With regard to the implementation
of article 2 of the Convention, the Committee, while welcoming the State
party's initiatives, including its affirmative action programmes aimed
at improving the living conditions of the less developed groups, invites
the State party to provide information on the results of these initiatives
in its next periodic report.
15. In view of the State
party's declaration on articles 4 and 6 of the Convention, the Committee
repeats its suggestion to the State party that it avail itself of the
possibility, under article 20, paragraph 3, of the Convention, to withdraw
its reservations in order to ensure the full applicability of the provisions
of articles 4 and 6.
16. The Committee requests
the State party to provide information in its next periodic report on
the implementation of article 4 of the Convention, especially on how
it is reflected in domestic legislation (for example, the Penal Code)
and applied by judges, lawyers and civil servants.
17. The Committee recommends
that comprehensive information be provided by the State party in its
next periodic report on the effective enjoyment by all groups of the
rights under article 5 of the Convention, in particular concerning participation
in public life under article 5 (c) and enjoyment of economic, social
and cultural rights under article 5 (e). For this purpose, the Committee
recommends that national or ethnic minority associations in the State
party be consulted on their experiences regarding these matters.
18. Emphasizing the role
of the judicial system in eliminating racial discrimination, the Committee
requests the State party to provide information in its next periodic
report on the existing legal mechanisms available to lodge complaints
in cases of racial discrimination, including information on the role
of the Supreme Court and lower courts as well as the legal aid system.
Additionally, the Committee requests the State party to provide information
on measures undertaken or envisaged for improving public awareness of
19. More information concerning
the composition and activities of the Human Rights Commission and the
above-mentioned parliamentary bodies as well as the result of their
activities in the elimination of racial discrimination in Nepal would
also be appreciated.
20. In connection with the
implementation of article 7 of the Convention, the Committee recommends
that the State party take all necessary measures to ensure the training
and education of law enforcement officials, teachers, social workers
and students in the prevention of racial discrimination, and to include
the teaching of human rights in school curricula.
21. The Committee calls
upon the State party to fully observe the human rights of refugees and
displaced persons of Bhutan and to negotiate with the Government of
Bhutan towards a peaceful solution of this important issue.
22. 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.
23. It is noted that the
State party has not made the declaration provided for in article 14
of the Convention, and some members of the Committee requested that
the possibility of such a declaration be considered.
24. The Committee recommends
that the State party's next periodic report, which was due on 1 March
1998, be an updating report and that it address all the points raised
in these concluding observations and during the consideration of the