COMMITTEE ON THE
OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES
UNDER ARTICLE 9 OF THE CONVENTION
Concluding observations of the Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro)
226. The Committee,
in concluding observations adopted at the forty-third session (see A/48/18,
paras. 531-547), requested additional information from the Federal Republic
of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) concerning measures taken to give
effect to the provisions of the Convention. The Committee considered the
additional information, contained in document CERD/C/248/Add.1, at its 1094th
meeting, held on 15 March 1995 (see CERD/C/SR.1094).
of the additional information proceeded in the absence of a representative
of the State party. In that regard, the Committee had before it copies of
an exchange of correspondence between the Ambassador of the Federal Republic
of Yugoslavia and the Chairman of the Committee. The text of those communications
reads as follows:
"Letter from the Chargé d'affaires a.i. of the Permanent Mission
of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to the United Nations
Office at Geneva to the Chairman of the Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination
15 February 1995
With reference to the United Nations Secretary-General's note No. G/SO
237/2 (2) of 26 October 1994, and the invitation extended to the Government
of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on 4 November 1994, for sending
its representatives to a meeting of the CERD, may I transmit herewith
the following position of the Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia:
'The Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia pointed out on several
occasions its position that, being the continuation of the international,
legal and political personality of the former Socialist Federal Republic
of Yugoslavia, it would strictly abide by all the commitments the SFRY
had undertaken by acceding to international-legal instruments, which includes
the obligations deriving from its membership in the International Convention
on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
With regard to the fact that the delegation of the Federal Republic of
Yugoslavia was unlawfully denied the right to participate in the work
of the latest meeting of the States parties to the International Convention
on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, whereby the
basic rights of the FR Yugoslavia deriving from its membership in the
Convention have been violated, the Government of the Federal Republic
of Yugoslavia is of the view that the position of inequality, in which
it is being placed by this act, makes its normal and usual cooperation
with the CERD impossible.
Taking into account that, regrettably, in the meantime after our latest
communication (No. 56/1 of 26 January 1995), nothing has been changed
in the position held towards the FR of Yugoslavia, i.e., it is not yet
considered as a full member to the Convention, the Government of the Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia is keeping its position and it will not participate
at the above-mentioned CERD meeting.
The Government of the FR of Yugoslavia is expecting that the Federal Republic
of Yugoslavia will be allowed to participate on the footing of equality
at the next Conference of the States parties to the International Convention
on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and that usual
cooperation with the CERD will be resumed afterwards.
The Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia wishes to reiterate
once again its sincere interest in the equitable dialogue with the CERD,
which is of mutual interest.'
Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.
(Signed) Vladimir Pavicevic
"Letter from the Chairman of the Committee on the Elimination
of Racial Discrimination to the Chargé d'affaires a.i. of
the Permanent Mission of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
to the United Nations Office at Geneva
6 March 1995
I refer to your letter of 15 February 1995 which transmits the position
of your Government on the invitation extended to it to participate in
the consideration by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
of the additional information supplied by your Government pursuant to
a request of the Committee.
May I convey to you the great regret of the Committee concerning the decision
of your Government not to send a delegation to meet with it during its
current session. While the absence of a delegation does not preclude consideration
of the information which has been supplied, it does, however, greatly
hinder the process of dialogue. The Committee considers that the continuation
of the dialogue with your Government will contribute to the implementation
of the Convention.
Note has been taken of the reasons presented by your Government as underlying
its position. In this regard the Committee would like to restate
that it has always considered that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
(Serbia and Montenegro) is duty bound as a State party to the International
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
and that the Committee, in its actions, will continue to proceed
on the basis
of this understanding.
It is the hope of the Committee that your Government will reconsider its
decision in sufficient time to allow for a dialogue to occur during the
Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.
(Signed) Ivan Garvalov"
228. Members welcomed
the submission of the additional information while deploring the unwillingness
of the State party to send a representative to participate in the Committee's
deliberations. Members also drew attention to and stressed the importance
of the findings of fact contained in the reports of the Special Rapporteur
of the Commission on Human Rights on the situation of human rights in the
territory of the Former Yugoslavia, Mr. T. Mazowiecki. A number of members
condemned the apparent unwillingness of the State party to take seriously
its international obligations concerning human rights or to cooperate with
various international procedures which are intended to promote respect for
the rights of all peoples and especially vulnerable minority groups.
229. With regard
to articles 2 and 5 of the Convention attention was drawn to reports of
patterns of discrimination perpetrated by the State party against a number
of minority groups, including people of Albanian origin in the Kosovo region,
people of the Muslim faith in Sandjak and those of Bulgarian origin in certain
areas of Serbia. Among the discriminatory practices cited were police harassment,
deprivation of education rights, mass dismissals from employment and restrictions
on freedom of expression. It was also noted that the Government persisted
in refusing to assist United Nations initiatives to trace disappeared persons
or to cooperate with the International Tribunal since 1991.
230. The role of
the communications media in promoting ethnic and religious hatred was stressed
by members and attention was drawn in that regard to the findings of the
Special Rapporteur, which clearly indicate systematic and grave violations
of article 4 of the Convention.
231. Members expressed
concern about apparent violations of article 6 arising from reports that
members of minority groups were unable to obtain adequate redress for violations
of their human rights perpetrated by government authorities or by private
citizens in circumstances where the government authorities failed to take
232. Members referred
to the good offices mission of the Committee which had visited Kosovo in
1993 and some expressed the view that a further mission might serve to promote
respect for the Covenant in that region. In general members indicated their
wish to give the fullest possible appropriate support to the Albanian minority
in that region.
233. At its 1097th
meeting, held on 16 March 1995, the Committee adopted the following concluding
234. The submission
of a detailed document containing the additional information requested from
the State party is welcomed. However, the Committee deplores the unwillingness
of the State party to send a representative to participate in the consideration
by the Committee of the information before it. The Committee notes the disparity
between the intentions stated by the State party in its additional information
concerning cooperation with the Committee and its unwillingness to participate
at the meeting.
235. The important
role played by the Special Rapporteur of the Commission for Human Rights
for the former Yugoslavia is acknowledged and his findings of fact are endorsed.
and difficulties in implementing the Convention
236. It is recognized
that the State party is experiencing considerable economic difficulties
which have a negative impact on the enjoyment of human rights including
those protected by the Convention. It is also acknowledged that the country
faces severe challenges in meeting the needs of the large number of refugees
within its territory.
subjects of concern
237. Great concern
is expressed regarding the situation of the ethnic Albanian population of
Kosovo. Reports continue to be received of campaigns of discrimination,
harassment and, at times, terrorization, directed against them by State
authorities. Dismissals from jobs in the public sector, principally from
the police and education services, continue. Numerous reports have been
received of physical attacks and robbery either committed by persons in
the service of the State or inadequately investigated by the police. It
can be concluded that the ethnic Albanians of Kosovo continue to be deprived
of effective enjoyment of the most basic human rights provided in the Convention.
238. Concern is
expressed concerning ethnic discrimination against other groups including
the Muslim community of Sandjak and the Bulgarian community in Serbia. Note
is taken of recent acts of discrimination perpetrated against these groups
and of the failure of the State party to bring such actions to an end or
to have them investigated and prosecuted.
239. Note is taken
with profound concern of the large part which the media continue to play
in the propagation of racial and ethnic hatred. Given the very tight State
control over the media this propagation of hatred may be attributed to the
State. It is further noted that the State party fails to take adequate action
to either prosecute perpetrators of such acts or to attempt to redress injustices.
It also fails to take action to counter the propagation of prejudice against
non-Serbians through education of the population in tolerance.
240. The failure
of the State party to cooperate with the Special Process on disappearances
of the Commission on Human Rights is deplored. It is noted that without
this cooperation no progress can be made in establishing the fate of large
numbers of Croats, Bosnian Muslims and others who have disappeared.
241. The unwillingness
of the State party to recognize the jurisdiction of the International Criminal
Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia is also deplored and extreme concern
is expressed with regard to the apparent policy of the Government to purport
to bestow impunity on perpetrators of fundamental violations of international
human rights and humanitarian law.
242. The Committee
draws attention to the letter of its Chairman to the State party of 6 March
1995 and reiterates its contents. The Committee will continue to consider
the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) to be bound by
the terms of the Convention and looks forward to an early resumption of
contact with the State party including its good-offices mission to Kosovo.
243. The Committee
calls on the State party to cease immediately all policies and practices
which violate rights under the Convention. It insists that victims of discrimination,
including ethnic Albanians, Muslims and ethnic Bulgarians, receive redress
and reparation in accordance with article 6 of the Convention.
244. The Committee
recommends the immediate drafting and implementation of legislation with
a view towards the outlawing of every manifestation of racial discrimination
and the full implementation of the Convention. Particular attention should
be paid to the legal regulation of matters such as the media and freedom
of expression, employment and trade unions, the education system, and the
health-care system. The Committee places itself at the disposal of the State
party to make available to it any technical assistance it may require to
carry out such legislative programmes.
245. The Committee
insists that all perpetrators of violations of the Convention be brought
to justice. It further calls on the State party to cooperate fully with
the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
246. The Committee
urgently suggests that the State party reconsider its failure to cooperate
with the Special Rapporteur and the Special Process on disappearances of
the Commission on Human Rights. It notes the important role played by both
these mechanisms in promoting compliance with the terms of the Convention.