COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION
OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
6-24 March 2000
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 combined second, third, and fourth periodic reports of Zimbabwe
(CERD/C/329/Add.1) at its 1374th and 1375th meetings (CERD/C/SR.1374
and 1375), held on 7 and 8 March 2000. At its 1395th meeting, held
on 22 March 2000, it adopted the following concluding observations.
2. The Committee welcomes
the submission of the report of Zimbabwe which followed the general
guidelines for the presentation of States parties' reports. The Committee
expresses its appreciation for the additional information provided
in the core document (HRI/CORE/1/Add.55) and orally by the delegation.
The Committee is encouraged by the constructive, open and frank dialogue
it had with the delegation and welcomes the positive reactions to
the suggestions and recommendations made during the discussion.
B. Factors and difficulties
impeding the implementation of the Convention
3. The Committee notes
that prior to 1980, the legislation and policies implemented by the
white minority regime in Zimbabwe led to racial segregation and discrimination
in the country. The continuing effects of Zimbabwe's social and political
history, together with the burden of the external debt and other economic
concerns, have impeded full implementation of the Convention.
C. Positive aspects
4 The Committee notes
the efforts made by the State party within the educational system
to reduce racial segregation, introduce the use of minority languages
and incorporate human rights education into the curricula through
5. The Committee welcomes
Zimbabwe's recent enactment of the Prevention of Discrimination Act
which, inter alia, prohibits "discrimination on the ground
of race, tribe, place of origin, national or ethnic origin, political
opinions, colour, creed or gender" and the 1997 amendment to the Ombudsman's
Act which broadens the mandate to include investigation of any violations
of human rights committed by members of the defence and police forces
and the prison service.
6. The Committee notes
the amendment to the Administration of Estates Act which addresses
concerns previously raised with respect to customary law regarding
marriage, inheritance and succession.
7. The Committee welcomes
the State party's initiative to introduce, with the support of the
International Committee of the Red Cross, human rights training for
civil servants as well as members of the police and defence forces.
D. Concerns and recommendations
8. The Committee is concerned
that the Ombudsman is restricted in her powers to investigating the
actions of public officials in fields relating to racial discrimination.
There is also concern that article 4 of the amendment to the Ombudsman
Act limits access to the complaints process. It is recommended that
the State party take appropriate measures to enable the Ombudsman
to monitor public officials and their powers.
9. The Committee notes
that the Ministry of Education has encountered problems in addressing
the racial segregation created by the parallel system of public and
private schools. It is recommended that the State party, in its next
periodic report, provide additional quantitative and qualitative information
on racial segregation in schools.
10. There is concern that
the Prevention of Discrimination Act does not adequately address all
the elements of article 4, particularly as regards the prohibition
and criminalization of all organizations and propaganda activities
that promote and incite racial discrimination. Additionally, there
is concern that the inclusion of "the risk element" referred to in
section 6 (1) of the Act, weakens the text, whereas article 4 of the
Convention does not limit or place conditions on the prohibition of
11. It is noted with regret
that the full implementation of the policy to introduce minority languages
into the school curricula has been impeded by financial, human and
material constraints. The State party is encouraged to proceed with
its proposal to give priority in the teacher training and curriculum
development programmes to persons with minority languages.
12. The Committee notes
with concern the insufficient information provided on the situation
of refugees, migrants and non-nationals residing in Zimbabwe. Additionally,
it notes with dissatisfaction that the laws concerning citizenship
give preference to non-national female spouses over non-national male
spouses of nationals of Zimbabwe and that the children born to citizens
of Zimbabwe overseas may not acquire citizenship. It is recommended
that the State party review its citizenship laws to ensure non-discrimination.
The State party is invited to provide, in its next periodic report,
additional information on the situation of refugees, migrants and
non-nationals residing in Zimbabwe as well as the relevant legislative
measures available to ensure the protection of their rights.
13. While noting the challenges
faced by the State party with respect to land redistribution, the
Committee regrets that very little progress has been made in this
regard since the consideration of the initial report. Concern is expressed
that the criteria established for persons to qualify as beneficiaries
under the Commercial Farm Settlement Scheme may limit the number of
black farmers who qualify. It is recommended that the State party
introduce measures to improve access to financial and technical support
for black farmers who may not otherwise qualify under the Scheme and
in this context consider the possibility of communal access to commercial
farmland. The State party is encouraged to continue its study of land
reform measures with a view to implementing a comprehensive land reform
programme in Zimbabwe, in accordance with due process of law and in
a manner that will enhance the economic and social rights of its citizens.
14. Concern is expressed
at the insufficient information provided with respect to article 6
of the Convention. The State party is requested to include information
in its next periodic report on the measures undertaken to improve
public awareness of the Convention and other legal mechanisms that
guarantee and protect against all forms of discrimination as well
as the development of case law in this regard.
15. 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 requested that
the possibility of making the declaration be considered.
16. The Committee recommends
that the next periodic report of the State party be readily available
to the public from the time it is submitted and that these concluding
observations be made widely available to the public. The Committee
further recommends that the State party's next periodic report, due
on 12 June 2000, be an updating report and that it address the points
raised during the consideration of the present report.