COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION
OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
6–23 March 2001
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 ninth periodic report of Portugal (CERD/C/357/Add.1) at its 1447th
and 1448th meetings (CERD/C/SR.1447 and 1448), held on 12 and 13 March
2001. At its 1461st meeting (CERD/C/SR.1461), held on 21 March 2001,
it adopted the following concluding observations.
2. The Committee welcomes
the updating report of Portugal, submitted less than one year after
the consideration of the fifth to eighth periodic reports, as well as
the supplementary written and oral information provided by the delegation.
The Committee expresses its appreciation for the constructive and frank
dialogue it had with the State party.
B. Positive aspects
3. The Committee welcomes
the enactment of Decree Law 4/2001 modifying the regulations on the
entry, stay and departure of foreigners with a view to, inter alia,
introducing penal legislation against the illegal trafficking of migrant
workers as well as an enlarged definition of the beneficiaries of family
4. The Committee also welcomes
the enactment of Act No. 134/99 and corresponding Decree Law 111/2000
prohibiting discrimination in the exercise of rights on grounds of race,
colour, nationality or ethnic origin, which contains a non-exhaustive
list of discriminatory practices and provides for administrative sanctions
for conduct falling under that list. It also welcomes the establishment
of the Commission for Equality and against Racial Discrimination.
5. The Committee welcomes
the establishment of the Consultative Council on questions of immigration
and the participation in it of representatives of immigrants' associations.
6. The Committee notes with
appreciation that, contrary to previous legislation, Act No. 20/98 of
12 May allows employers to freely employ any worker residing legally
in Portugal, regardless of nationality.
7. The Committee welcomes
the information provided by the State party about the sentences handed
down by the competent courts in the case of the demolition of Gypsy
dwellings in Vila Verde.
C. Concerns and recommendations
8. The Committee notes with
concern that incidents of racial discrimination and xenophobia do occur
in the State party and recommends that the authorities continue to monitor
such incidents closely and take appropriate steps to deal with them.
9. The Committee notes the
lack of detailed information in the periodic report about the number
of complaints of racial discrimination brought before the Portuguese
courts as well as the corresponding decisions, and recommends that the
next report include information in this respect. That report should
also include information about the cases dealt with by the Commission
for Equality and against Racial Discrimination.
10. The Committee notes
with concern that, in some industrial and services sectors where illegal
migrant workers are engaged, they are discriminated against. It recommends
that the State party take measures to put an end to this discrimination.
11. The Committee notes
that the report does not contain detailed information about the effective
enjoyment by ethnic groups, including refugees, foreign workers, Gypsies
(Roma) and citizens who obtained Portuguese nationality following the
independence of former colonies, of the rights contained in article
5 of the Convention. The Committee draws the State party's attention
to General Recommendation XX and recommends that the next periodic report
include information in that respect, in particular about the socio-economic
situation of the above-mentioned groups.
12. The Committee recommends
that the State party take measures to inform the population in general,
and the most vulnerable groups in particular, about the possibility
of bringing complaints before the Commission for Equality and against
13. The Committee recommends
that, in its next periodic report, the State party provide information
on the demographic composition of the population, in accordance with
paragraph 8 of the Committee's reporting guidelines.
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 concluding
observations on them be similarly publicized. It also recommends the
adoption of measures in order to inform the public about the acceptance
by Portugal of article 14 of the Convention.
15. The Committee recommends
that the State party submit its tenth periodic report jointly with the
eleventh periodic report, due on 23 September 2003, and that it address
the points raised in these concluding observations.