COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION
OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
6-24 March 2000
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE
9 OF THE CONVENTION
observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial
1. The Committee considered the fourteenth periodic report of Tonga
(CERD/C/362/Add.3) at its 1384th meeting (CERD/C/SR.1384), held on
14 March 2000. At its 1395th meeting, held on 22 March 2000, it adopted
the following concluding observations.
2. The Committee
welcomes the report submitted by the State party and expresses satisfaction
over the regularity with which it fulfils its reporting obligations
under the Convention. Although regretting the absence of a delegation
at the meeting, the Committee recognizes the difficulties inherent
in the appointment of such a delegation for a small State like Tonga.
3. The Committee
is particularly pleased by the special effort made by the State party
to respond to questions contained in its previous concluding observations
4. The Committee
notes with appreciation the State party's information, in response
to previous requests from the Committee, on the constitutional protection
of the enjoyment of rights enumerated in article 5 of the Convention.
C. Concerns and recommendations
5. The Committee
notes that the State party repeatedly asserted that there is no racial
discrimination as defined in article 1 of the Convention. The Committee
underlines, however, that the obligation of States parties to enact
explicit legislation in accordance with article 4 of the Convention
should not be seen merely as a means to ensure protection against
existing violations of the Convention, but as a preventive measure.
The Committee is of the opinion that the absence of complaints and
legal action by victims of racial discrimination could possibly be
an indication of a lack of awareness of available legal remedies,
or a result of the absence of relevant specific legislation. The Committee
recommends that the State party take steps to ensure that national
legislation is in full conformity with article 4 of the Convention.
6. The Committee
notes that the Convention has not been incorporated in domestic law
and cannot be invoked before the national courts. It notes, however,
that the State party asserts that the Convention is implicitly applied.
7. The Committee
recommends, with reference to its revised general guidelines regarding
the form and contents of reports (CERD/C/70/Rev.4), that the State
party include in its next report information on factors affecting
and difficulties experienced in ensuring for women the equal enjoyment,
free from racial discrimination, of rights under the Convention, in
order for the Committee to be able to assess whether any racial discrimination
has an impact on women different from that which it has on men.
concern is expressed at section 10 (2) (c) of the Immigration Act
of the Laws of Tonga, according to which the right to marriage between
a Tongan and a non-Tongan is conditioned by the written consent of
the Principal Immigration Officer. The Committee considers that such
legislation might constitute a breach of article 5, paragraph (d)
of the Convention.
9. The State
party is invited to provide further information in its next report
on measures taken in the field of education and culture to combat
and prevent racial discrimination.
10. The Committee
recommends that the State party prepare a core document in accordance
with the consolidated guidelines for the initial part of the reports
of State Parties (A/45/636, para. 65).
11. 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.
12. 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
request that the possibility of making such a declaration be considered.
13. The Committee
recommends that the State party's next periodic report, due on 17
March 2001, be a comprehensive report and that it address all the
points raised in the present observations.