COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION
OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
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 eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth periodic reports of
Yugoslavia (CERD/C/299/Add.17) at its 1260th, 1261st and 1262nd meetings,
held on 11 and 12 March 1998, and adopted, at its 1272nd meeting, held
on 19 March 1998, the following concluding observations.
2. The Committee expresses
its appreciation to the State party for the report submitted as well
as for the additional information provided orally by the delegation.
The Committee also expresses its satisfaction for the resumption of
dialogue with the State party, interrupted since 1995, and welcomes
the commitment to continue that dialogue as a means to facilitate the
implementation of the Convention in Yugoslavia.
3. The Committee regrets,
however, that the report contains information almost exclusively on
legislation and not on the implementation of such legislation. It also
regrets that the report does not respond to the concluding observations
on Yugoslavia made by the Committee in 1993. The absence of any such
response restricts the possibilities for a fruitful dialogue with the
State party on the issues raised in those observations.
B. Factors and difficulties impeding the implementation of the Convention
4. It is acknowledged that
Yugoslavia is experiencing an acute crisis with serious consequences
in terms of demographic, social, economic and political developments.
International sanctions, the repercussions of the war in Bosnia and
Herzegovina and the presence in its territory of about 700,000 refugees
adversely affect the enjoyment of human rights, including those protected
by the Convention.
C. Positive aspects
5. The statement made by
the State party during the oral dialogue indicating its intention to
pursue cooperation with all international mechanisms for the protection
of human rights is noted.
6. The Committee takes note
of the statement that the Government of the Republic of Serbia is inviting
the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit Kosovo and Metohija,
and urges the State party to immediately grant the ICRC and other humanitarian
organizations free access to Kosovo.
7. It is noted that since
the Committee's good-offices mission in 1993, some progress has been
made, with the participation of the Albanian population, towards the
normalization of the health care system in the province of Kosovo and
8. The Committee notes the
statement made by the Government of the Republic of Serbia to the effect
that all questions relating to Kosovo and Metohija should be resolved
within Serbia by political means and in accordance with international
standards in the field of protection of the rights of national minorities.
D. Principal subjects of concern
9. Concern is expressed
at the lack of implementation of the memorandum of understanding on
the normalization of education in Kosovo and Metohija, signed by President
Milosevic and representatives of the Albanian population in September
10. Concern is expressed
about continuing reports indicating that, despite constitutional and
legal safeguards, access of certain minorities to education, public
information and cultural activities in their own language is not fully
11. Concern is expressed
at the limitations imposed by the 1989 Act on Special Conditions for
Real Property Transactions, on the transactions between members of different
groups and about the fact that the law is being unevenly and arbitrarily
implemented, depending on the applicant's ethnicity and place of residence.
12. It is noted with regret
that there has been no follow-up to the good-offices mission of the
Committee in 1993. The purpose of the mission was to help promote a
dialogue for the peaceful solution of issues concerning respect for
human rights in the province of Kosovo and Metohija, in particular the
elimination of all forms of racial discrimination, and to help the parties
concerned to arrive at such a solution. As a result of the mission,
the Committee proposed to the State party that a number of specific
steps, particularly in the fields of education and health care, be taken
with a view to normalizing the situation in Kosovo. Although the Committee
expressed a willingness to continue the dialogue within the framework
of the good-offices mission, no response was received from the State
13. Concern is also expressed
at persisting violations in Kosovo and Metohija of basic human rights
standards, including article 5 (a) and (b) of the Convention, requiring
that arrested persons be brought promptly before a judge, and prohibiting
torture and ill-treatment of persons in detention or in the course of
demonstrations. Equal concern is expressed about the impunity that perpetrators
of such violations seem to enjoy.
14. The Committee is concerned
that disproportionate use of force by law enforcement agencies and the
military against the Albanian population in the province of Kosovo and
Metohija has resulted in numerous violations of the right to life, destruction
of property and displacement.
15. Although the State party
has argued that its recent actions in Kosovo and Metohija were carried
out exclusively with a view to combating terrorism, the Committee notes
with serious concern that a great number of victims of the recent events
are civilians, including women and children whose deaths cannot be justified
by any means. It states that any attempt to push for a military solution
of the long-standing crisis in Kosovo could have distressing consequences.
16. It is regretted that
the cooperation of the State party with the International Criminal Tribunal
for the Former Yugoslavia remains insufficient and that individuals
indicted by the Tribunal for war crimes and crimes against humanity
are not put at its disposal.
E. Suggestions and recommendations
17. The Committee recommends
that the information provided orally in response to a wide range of
questions raised by the members be incorporated in the next periodic
report due on 24 July 2000. That report should also contain information
on the following issues:
(a) Cases in which the
Convention has been invoked in decisions or other acts adopted by courts
or administrative organs;
(b) Cases where decisions
and other acts adopted by courts or administrative organs have been
invalidated owing to non-compliance with the Convention;
(c) Cases where compensation
has been granted for damages caused by officials or State organs involving
violation of rights guaranteed by the Convention;
(d) Cases where measures
have been taken against organizations carrying out activities promoting
racial hatred and discrimination; cases that might have been brought
before the constitutional courts in this respect;
(e) Cases where proceedings
have been instituted for the crimes of violation of citizens' right
to equality, infringement of citizens' right to use their mother tongue,
incitement of national, racial and religious hatred or any other act
of racial discrimination.
18. Efforts should be pursued
in order to guarantee full enjoyment by members of all minorities of
their rights to public information and cultural activities, as well
as education in their own language, whenever possible.
19. The Committee recommends
that the Government of Yugoslavia take measures to incorporate human
rights programmes in school curricula. Such programmes should also include
the provisions of the Convention, with a view to promoting the prevention
of racial discrimination.
20. Recalling its General
Recommendation XXI, the Committee expresses the opinion that a solution
for Kosovo and Metohija includes a status of the highest level of autonomy
for this part of the State party as a means for everyone to enjoy their
human rights and in particular to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination.
21. The Committee calls
on all parties to ensure implementation of the memorandum of understanding
on the normalization of education in Kosovo and Metohija.
22. The Committee urges
the State party to carry out a full and independent investigation of
the incidents that occurred in Kosovo and Metohija following the recent
military operations and to bring to justice those responsible for any
act involving a disproportionate use of force.
23. The Committee recommends
that the State party cooperate fully with the International Criminal
Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, in particular by handing over those
indicted by the Tribunal for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
24. It is also noted that
the State party has not made the declaration provided in article 14
of the Convention, and some members of the Committee request that the
possibility of making the declaration be considered.
25. 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 to the Convention.