por Portugal aos Órgãos de Controlo da Aplicação
dos Tratados das Nações Unidas em Matéria de
Concluding observations of the Committee
on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Portugal. 08/04/99.
CERD/C/304/Add.67. (Concluding Observations/Comments)
COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION 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
1. The Committee considered the fifth to eighth
periodic reports of Portugal (CERD/C/314/Add.1), at its 1311th and
1312th meetings (CERD/C/SR.1311 and 1312), held on 4 and 5 March
1999, and adopted, at its 1328th meeting (CERD/C/SR.1328), held
on 17 March 1999, the following concluding observations.
2. The Committee welcomes the opportunity to
resume its dialogue with the State party after a lapse of eight
years. The Committee notes with appreciation that the report submitted
by the State party is a comprehensive document which largely complies
with the Committee's general guidelines. The Committee welcomes
the frank and self-critical approach of the report, the constructive
dialogue with the State party's delegation and the additional information
in response to the questions raised by the members of the Committee,
which reflect the serious commitment of the State party to implementing
the provisions of the Convention.
3. The efforts undertaken and the innovative
measures adopted by the State party to combat racial discrimination
are welcomed, as is the State party's willingness to recognize existing
problems and to find appropriate solutions, both legislative and
administrative. The Committee notes with appreciation that since
the examination of the previous reports, a new Penal Code (1995)
has been adopted which brings domestic legislation more into conformity
with the Convention. It also notes with interest that the Portuguese
Constitution was amended in 1997.
4. The Committee welcomes the information provided
by the State party that the Convention is directly applicable in
the Portuguese legal system and that it takes precedence over domestic
5. The Committee welcomes the enactment of Decree
296-A/95 of 17 November 1995 providing for the appointment of the
High Commissioner for Immigration and Ethnic Minorities whose ultimate
objective is to prevent xenophobia, intolerance and discrimination
and to promote a dialogue with immigrants and ethnic communities.
The initiatives taken by the High Commissioner in the sphere of
training, education and information are appreciated.
6. The Committee notes with appreciation the
State party's efforts to promote equal opportunity for Roma (Gypsies)
and their better integration in society. The Committee notes, in
particular, the establishment in 1996 of the Working Group for the
Equality and Insertion of Gypsies, under the authority of the High
Commissioner, and the existence of "Gypsy mediators" with
the task of ensuring liaison between the Roma (Gypsy) community
and the public and private sectors.
7. The Committee commends the State party's
initiatives in 1992 and 1996 to regularize the situation of a large
number of clandestine immigrants in order to allow them fully to
enjoy their social, economic and cultural rights, particularly in
regard to work, social services and access to housing.
8. With respect to article 7 of the Convention,
the Committee welcomes the information given by the State party
regarding its efforts to develop educational programmes for law
enforcement officials, including human rights training in general
and training concerning the provisions of the Convention in particular.
D. Principal subjects of concern
9. The Committee expresses its concern at manifestations
of xenophobia and racial discrimination, including acts of violence
directed against certain ethnic groups, particularly Blacks, Roma
(Gypsies), immigrants and foreigners frequently perpetrated by skinheads,
although the Committee acknowledges the efforts of the State party
to combat such acts.
10. While noting that article 46, paragraph
4 of the Constitution of Portugal, as well as Law No. 64/78, prohibits
racist organizations or organizations adhering to a fascist ideology,
the Committee also expresses its concern that article 4 of the Convention
is not fully complied with, since the protection thus provided for
by law does not cover the wide variety of racist organizations that
may exist or develop.
11. With regard to article 5 of the Convention,
the report does not contain sufficient information to allow an evaluation
of the practical implementation of the right to access to and equal
treatment before the courts. The Committee expresses its apprehension
concerning the de facto enjoyment of these rights by, in particular,
Roma (Gypsies), Blacks, immigrants and foreigners.
E. Suggestions and recommendations
12. The Committee recommends that further measures
be taken to harmonize domestic legislation with the provisions of
the Convention. In this respect, it is recommended, in particular,
that appropriate measures be taken to prohibit all organizations
and groups, whether or not of fascist ideology, which promote racist
ideas or objectives, in order to ensure that article 4 of the Convention
is fully complied with.
13. It is also recommended that the State party
continue and intensify its measures aimed at preventing and prosecuting
any act or manifestation of racial discrimination or xenophobia,
including acts of violence against certain ethnic groups, particularly
Blacks, Roma (Gypsies), immigrants and foreigners.
14. The Committee suggests that further action
be taken to ensure that the provisions of the Convention are more
widely publicized, particularly among Roma (Gypsies), Blacks, immigrants
15. The Committee recommends that the State
party in its next periodic report provide detailed and relevant
information on the demographic composition of the Portuguese population,
in accordance with paragraph 8 of the Committee's reporting guidelines.
16. The State party is invited to provide further
information on the following issues: (a) complaints and court cases
relating to racial discrimination; (b) the enjoyment in practice
of the right to access to and equal treatment before the courts,
in particular by Roma (Gypsies), Blacks, immigrants and foreigners;
(c) activities undertaken by the High Commissioner for Immigration
and Ethnic Minorities; (d) additional measures undertaken to combat
manifestations of xenophobia and racial discrimination, including
acts of violence directed against certain ethnic groups; and (e)
the results of integration programmes established in connection
with the regularization of the situation of clandestine immigrants
in 1992 and 1996.
17. 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.
18. It is noted that the State party has not
yet made the declaration provided for in article 14 of the Convention,
and some members of the Committee request that the State party consider
the possibility of making such a declaration.
19. The Committee requests that the State party
give wide publicity to its report to the Committee, as well as to
the present concluding observations.
20. The Committee recommends that the State
party's next periodic report, due on 23 September 1999, be an updating
report and that it address all the points raised in these concluding
observations and during the consideration of the report.