COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
2 – 27 August 1999
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 twelfth to fifteenth periodic reports
of Uruguay (CERD/C/338/Add.7) at its 1350th and 1351st meetings (see CERD/C/SR.1350
and 1351), on 12 and 13 August 1999. At its 1361st meeting (see CERD/C/SR.1361),
on 20 August 1999, it adopted the following concluding observations.
2. The Committee welcomes the twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth
periodic reports submitted by the State party in one document as well
as for the additional information provided orally by the delegation. The
Committee expresses its satisfaction for the resumption of dialogue with
the State party, interrupted since 1991. The Committee is also pleased
that the report follows the guidelines, in particular that it addresses
the Committee's concluding observations relating to the previous report
of the State party.
B. Factors and difficulties impeding the implementation
of the Convention
3. While the Committee notes with appreciation the State party's long-term
achievements in the field of human development, it is of the opinion that
the de facto social and economic marginalization of the Afro-Uruguayan
and indigenous communities has generated discrimination against them.
These factors are significant obstacles to the full implementation of
C. Positive aspects
4. The Committee welcomes the constitutional status granted to the protection
of human rights and the recognition of the principle of equality of persons
in the State party's Constitution designed to preclude any form of discrimination,
including racial discrimination.
5. The Committee welcomes
the State party's inclusion of information on the demographic composition
of the State party, in line with the Committee's previous recommendation.
This information has proven to be a very useful tool for evaluating
the implementation of the Convention in the State party.
6. The Committee welcomes
the establishment of a special Commission, consisting of representatives
of the State party's Central Bank and the Bank of the Eastern Republic
of Uruguay, to investigate the existence of Nazi funds within the State
party's financial system as well as the cooperation of this Commission
with the National Jewish Committee.
7. The Committee welcomes
the participation of national non-governmental organizations in the
preparation of the report.
8. The Committee notes with
appreciation the inclusion of information on educational programmes
to enhance Uruguayan society's understanding of the Afro-Uruguayan culture.
C. Principal subjects of concern
9. The Committee remains concerned about the insufficient information
on the situation of ethnic groups living in the State party's territory.
Concern is also expressed about the lack of information on special measures,
such as affirmative action programmes, taken for the protection of the
rights of disadvantaged ethnic groups such as Afro-Uruguayans and indigenous
10. The Committee remains
concerned about the lack of information on the effective enjoyment of
the rights provided for in, especially, article 5 (c) and (e), and in
particular by members of the Afro-Uruguayan and indigenous communities.
In addition, concern is particularly expressed about the situation of
women belonging to the Afro-Uruguayan community, who are victims of
double discrimination on grounds of both their gender and race.
11. While taking note of
the information on the existing legal mechanisms (habeas corpus
and amparo), nevertheless, in view of the situation that only
few cases of racial discrimination have reached the courts or administrative
bodies, concern is expressed about the effective access to protection
and remedies against acts of racial discrimination against, in particular,
the Afro-Uruguayan and indigenous communities.
12. The absence of sufficient
information on the teaching of human rights, in particular on the combating
of racial discrimination, in the school curricula, as well as the lack
of information on awareness-raising programmes to combat racial discrimination
is a matter of concern.
D. Suggestions and recommendations
13. The Committee recommends that the State party include in its next
report information on the political, economic and social situations of
ethnic groups living in the State party's territory. The Committee requests
the State party to establish specific protection measures, such as affirmative
action programmes, for members of the Afro-Uruguayan and indigenous communities,
to guarantee their enjoyment of all the rights enumerated in the Convention.
14. The Committee recommends
that the State party take all appropriate legislative measures to ensure
that article 4 of the Convention is fully reflected in domestic law.
In particular, the Committee emphasizes the importance of adequately
prohibiting and penalizing acts of racial discrimination, whether they
are committed by individuals, organizations, public authorities or public
institutions. In this connection, in order to better evaluate the implementation
of article 4 (b) of the Convention, the Committee requests the State
party to include in its next periodic report the text of the relevant
articles of the Penal Code which prohibit and penalize "illicit
15. The Committee also recommends
that the State party take immediate and appropriate measures to ensure
the enjoyment of all the rights enumerated in article 5 of the Convention
in particular by members of the Afro-Uruguayan and indigenous communities
and provide further information on this subject. With respect to employment,
education and housing, the Committee recommends that the State party
take steps to reduce present inequalities and adequately compensate
affected groups and persons for earlier evictions from their houses.
16. The Committee recommends
that the State party establish special programmes aimed at facilitating
the social enhancement of women belonging to the Afro-Uruguayan community,
who suffer double discrimination on grounds of both their gender and
17. The Committee recommends
that the State party make additional efforts to facilitate equal access
to the courts and administrative bodies for persons belonging to the
Afro-Uruguayan and indigenous communities, in order to ensure equality
of all persons.
18. The Committee recommends
that the next periodic report of the State party include information
on measures taken in the field of teaching, education, culture and information
in order to combat racial discrimination, in compliance with article
7 of the Convention. In this connection, the Committee further recommends
that the State party consider providing education and training on racial
tolerance and human rights issues to law enforcement officials, in accordance
with article 7 of the Convention and its general recommendation XIII.
19. The Committee recommends
that the State party consider the ratification to 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.
20. The Committee suggests
to the State party that this periodic report and these concluding observations
be widely distributed.
21. The Committee recommends
that the State party's next periodic report, due on 4 January 2000,
be an updating report and that it address the points raised during the
consideration of the report.