COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
6-23 March 2001
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE 9
OF THE CONVENTION
of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
1. The Committee considered
the ninth, tenth and eleventh periodic reports of the Sudan, which were
due on 20 April 1994, 1996 and 1998 respectively, submitted as one document
(CERD/C/334/Add.2), at its 1451st and 1452nd meetings (CERD/C/SR.1451
and 1452), held on 14 and 15 March 2001. At its 1460th meeting (CERD/C/SR.1460),
held on 21 March 2001, it adopted the following concluding observations.
2. The Committee welcomes
the submission of the State party's report and appreciates the opportunity
to continue its dialogue with the State party, in a spirit of constructiveness.
While noting that the report was not adequately prepared in accordance
with the guidelines for the preparation of reports, the Committee expresses
its appreciation for the additional oral and written information provided
by the delegation in response to the wide range of questions asked by
B. Positive aspects
3. The Committee notes with
interest the State party's increasing willingness to cooperate with
some of the United Nations and international agencies and non-governmental
organizations in the field of human rights, including on matters relating
to racial discrimination.
4. The Committee welcomes
the fact that international treaties ratified by the State party form
part of domestic law and that treaties take precedence over national
legislation in case of conflict.
5. The Committee welcomes
the adoption by national referendum of the 1998 Constitution and commends
the fact that the Constitution recognizes the cultural diversity of
the Sudan. In this regard, the Committee notes the efforts by all parties
to implement constitutional decree 14 of 1997 (Khartoum Peace Agreement),
ending with a general referendum in the South on unity or separation.
6. The Committee welcomes
the efforts made by the State party to put into place a legislative
framework, based on the common law system, to ensure the protection
of constitutional rights and freedoms and, in particular, the 1998 amendment
to the Criminal Act making racial discrimination a specific crime.
7. The Committee commends
the development of some institutional structures to guarantee the objectives
of the Constitution, including the Constitutional Court, the Office
of the Ombudsman and the Advisory Council for Human Rights.
C. Factors and difficulties impeding the implementation of the Convention
8. The Committee bears in
mind the long-lasting and ongoing civil war, fuelled by a complexity
of issues relating to ethnicity, race, religion and culture, involving
violations of human rights by all parties to the armed conflict. Massive
loss of life, destruction of property, abductions and a decline in financial
and material resources and political conflict overshadow all efforts
made by the State party to implement the Convention.
D. Concerns and recommendations
9. While noting certain
information given orally by the delegation, particularly the socio-economic
indicators relating to women and children, the Committee regrets the
lack of details in the report concerning the demographic composition
of the population. The Committee recommends that the State party provide
in its next report detailed information on the composition of the population,
as requested in the reporting guidelines of the Committee. In particular,
the Committee wishes to receive information on the economic and social
status of all ethnic and religious minorities, disaggregated by gender,
and any other groups covered by the scope of the Convention, as well
as on their participation in public life.
10. With regard to articles
4, 5 and 6 of the Convention, the Committee recommends that the State
party continue its efforts to establish a domestic legal order giving
full effect to the provisions of the Convention and to ensure effective
and equal access to remedies through the competent national tribunals
and other State institutions against any acts of racial discrimination
and related intolerance.
11. The Committee further
reiterates its recommendations to the State party contained in its decision
5 (54) of 19 March 1999 (A/54/18, Chap. II, sect. A), inter alia
to implement immediately effective measures to guarantee all Sudanese,
without distinction based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic
origin, freedom of religion, opinion, expression and association; the
right to security of person and protection by the State against violence
or bodily harm; the right to study and communicate in a chosen language;
and the right to enjoy their own culture without interference.
12. The Committee repeats
its concern over continuous reports and allegations regarding the abduction
by armed militia of, primarily, women and children belonging to other
ethnic groups. In this regard, it notes that the State party, while
disassociating itself from any such practices, attributes abduction
to traditions deeply rooted among certain tribes. Notwithstanding this
position, the Committee strongly emphasizes the State party's responsibility
to undertake all measures to bring the practice of abduction to an end
and to ensure that legal action is taken against those responsible for
such acts, and compensation given to those aggrieved.
13. The Committee is deeply
concerned about the forced relocation of civilians from the Nuer and
Dinka ethnic groups in the upper Nile region and reports that the relocations
involved significant military force resulting in civilian casualities.
The Committee urges the State party to uphold the fundamental economic
and social rights of the Nuer and Dinka in the upper Nile region, including
the right to personal security, to housing, to food, and to just compensation
for property confiscated for public use.
14. The Committee remains
concerned about the large number of internally displaced communities
within the territory of the State party, due to the civil war and natural
disasters. The Committee reiterates its recommendation that the State
party consider giving effect to the provisions of the Guiding Principles
on Internal Displacement (E/CN.4/1998/53/Add.2) of the Special Representative
of the Secretary General on internally displaced persons and to implement
the right to free return of all displaced persons to their homes of
origin under conditions of safety. It further urges the State party
to do everything in its power to achieve a peaceful settlement of the
war, which undermines efforts at combating ethnic, racial and religious
15. The Committee notes
that different standards of treatment are reportedly used for different
categories of asylum-seekers, i.e. whereas asylum-seekers from mainly
neighbouring countries to the east, west and south, except Chad, are
granted refugee status, asylum-seekers from Arab countries are allowed
to stay on an informal and unofficial basis. The Committee recommends
that the State party apply international and regional standards pertaining
to refugees equally, regardless of the nationality of the asylum-seeker.
16. The Committee invites
the State party to provide in its subsequent report, inter alia,
information on cases pertaining specifically to violations of the Convention,
on the activities of the Office of the Ombudsman and the Advisory Council
for Human Rights, and on the results of the work of the Committee for
the Eradication of Abductions of Women and Children.
17. 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.
18. It is noted that the
State party has not made the declaration provided for in article 14
of the Convention, and the Committee recommends that the possibility
of making such a declaration be considered.
19. 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.
20. The Committee recommends
that the State party submit its twelfth periodic report jointly with
its thirteenth periodic report, due on 20 April 2002, and that it address
all the points raised in the present observations.