por Portugal aos Órgãos de Controlo da Aplicação
dos Tratados das Nações Unidas em Matéria de
ONU Summary record of the 1327th
meeting : Austria, Mongolia, Portugal. 22/03/99. CERD/C/SR.1327.
COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION, Fifty-fourth
SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 1327th MEETING, Held
at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, on Tuesday, 16 March 1999, at
Chairman: Mr. ABOUL-NASR
later: Mr. SHERIFIS
CONTENTS: CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS, COMMENTS
AND INFORMATION SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE 9 OF THE
- Eleventh to fifteenth periodic reports of Mongolia
- Draft concluding observations concerning the eleventh to thirteenth
periodic reports of Austria
- Draft concluding observations concerning the fifth to eighth
periodic reports of Portugal
The meeting was called to order at 3.10 p.m.
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS, COMMENTS AND INFORMATION SUBMITTED
BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE 9 OF THE CONVENTION (agenda item
Eleventh to fifteenth periodic reports of Mongolia
1. At the invitation of the Chairman, Mr. Bold,
Mr. Tumur and Mr. Erdenebulgan (Mongolia) took places at the Committee
2. Mr. TUMUR (Mongolia) said that his Government
hoped to learn valuable lessons from the Committee's examination
of its report which he trusted would provide an impetus for furthering
the implementation of the Convention in Mongolia.
3. During the 10 years since the submission
of the previous report, Mongolia had witnessed radical changes in
its political, social and economic system. The democratic reforms
begun in 1990 had resulted in the dismantling of the old regime
and Mongolia had become a country with parliamentary governance
and a multiparty system; it was making a steady transition from
a centrally planned to a market economy.
4. The new Constitution of Mongolia, adopted
in 1992, included a special section proclaiming all human rights
and fundamental freedoms. Over the period, a whole series of legal
reforms relating to human rights had been introduced, with the adoption
of 300 new laws, the amendment or revision of 200 other laws; a
total of 50,000 legislative acts had been adopted.
5. In addition to establishing the legal framework
for implementation of the Convention, Mongolia attached particular
importance to human rights education, and had held a number of seminars
on human rights with the cooperation of the Centre for Human Rights
technical assistance programme, for lawyers, law enforcement officers,
educators, governmental and non-governmental officials and other
professionals. Raising public awareness of human rights and strengthening
human rights education in Mongolia would remain major objectives
for the Government.
6. Once the legislative foundations for the
protection of human rights were laid, it was important to build
mechanisms to ensure the implementation of the laws. Because Mongolia
was under economic and financial strain, financial and technical
assistance from international organizations and the donor community
was needed to operate such structures.
7. In conclusion, he assured the Committee of
his Government's strong commitment to compliance with its obligations
under international human rights instruments and its will to do
its utmost to ensure that all human rights were protected.
8. Ms. ZOU (Country Rapporteur) welcomed the
resumption of dialogue with Mongolia after nearly a decade. The
report had largely followed the Committee's guidelines, but was
too simple in content and gave too little information on specific
legal provisions and actual implementation of the Convention. The
Committee hoped that supplementary information would be provided
by the delegation or in the next report.
9. Regarding the demographic composition of
Mongolia, there were 15 ethnic groups, the largest being the Khalkhas,
who accounted for 81 per cent of the total. Of the remaining 19
per cent, the largest minority group was made up of Kazaks, accounting
for 6.1 per cent and constituting the most important non-Mongol
ethnic minority. They had their own language, religious beliefs
and customs and were concentrated in the western part of the country.
During consideration of the previous report, Committee members had
requested more information on the Kazaks, but the current report
gave no information beyond their percentage of the total population.
Were their religious beliefs respected and were there any mosques
where they could worship? Could they use the Kazak language in the
courts in the areas where they were concentrated? Were their ways
and customs respected? What measures had the Mongolian Government
taken to preserve their identity and customs?
10. According to her sources, the other ethnic
minorities were basically Mongols, speaking different dialects.
Again, the report contained scant information and the Committee
would like to know about their general situation. What customs and
practices or other special features differentiated them as ethnic
11. The 10 years since the previous report had
marked Mongolia's transition towards a market economy, with profound
changes in the economic, political, cultural, ideological and other
fields. What effects were those changes having on ethnic minorities?
For example, what impact did the change in the system of ownership
have on the economic life of ethnic minorities, and specifically
those engaged in animal husbandry, agriculture or business? Were
there any self-employed businessmen among the minorities and how
many were there in percentage terms? How did the political changes
affect the ethnic minorities' right to participate in the administration
and discussion of State affairs; did they have more or less opportunity
now than in the past? What impact did the changes have on the preservation
of their special cultures?
12. The report stated that there were about
3,000 foreigners residing in Mongolia, roughly half from Russia
and the other half from China. Many of the Chinese were said to
be engaged in small business; was that the case? What were the major
occupations of the Russians? Had any of the foreign citizens requested
naturalization? Did the Mongolian Government treat all such requests
13. Welcoming the legislative reform process
under way, she said that the report did not specify whether there
were any laws on ethnic minorities and against racial discrimination.
As ethnic minorities accounted for around 19 per cent of the population,
and Mongolia was a State party to the Convention, it was imperative
that such laws be formulated. Did the Government have any plans
to elaborate laws on ethnic minorities in accordance with the new
Constitution and the provisions of the Convention?
14. Was the "article 7 of the Criminal
Code" referred to in paragraph 8 the same as the "article
70" referred to in the previous report, or had Mongolia adopted
a new Criminal Code? The Committee regretted that the report still
did not include the actual text of the article, and hoped it would
be provided in the next report. It appeared that article 7 of the
Criminal Code was in conformity with article 4 (a) of the Convention,
but the requirements of article 4 (b) and (c) were apparently not
met. The Mongolian Government might believe that no racist organization
or activity existed in the country and that it was therefore unnecessary
to formulate laws in that regard, but article 4 of the Convention
was a mandatory article and the Committee's position thereon was
contained in its General Recommendations VII (85) and XV (93). In
a world where population movements occurred frequently, no country,
particularly not one like Mongolia, with ethnic minorities and foreign
residents, could guarantee that no such organization or activity
would emerge on its territory. The Committee hoped that in amending
its Criminal Code or incorporating new provisions, the Government
would ensure it was fully in conformity with the provisions of article
4 pursuant to its obligations under the Convention.
15. With regard to article 5, it appeared from
paragraph 11 that citizens had the right to invoke international
treaties directly in any Mongolian court; was that the case? Did
the courts provide translation for parties involved in court proceedings
who did not speak Mongolian? Was there any legal aid system to assist
those with economic difficulties?
16. The previous report had mentioned that 22
per cent of the 370 representatives who formed the Great Khural
were from ethnic minorities, but the current report gave no such
information. How many representatives were there currently from
ethnic minorities; what was the percentage by minority? Was there
an increase or a decrease compared to the period covered by the
previous report? In local areas where the ethnic minorities lived,
what was the percentage of ethnic minority representatives in local
legislative bodies, for instance the percentage of Kazaks in local
government in the west of the country? What percentage of official
government posts were occupied by ethnic minorities overall? What
were the percentages in areas where ethnic minorities were concentrated?
She hoped the next report would give information on the share of
ethnic minorities in the judicial branches of their local areas,
such as how many judges, prosecutors and policemen were of minority
17. The report stated that every Mongolian citizen
had the right to free choice of employment. Over a decade previously,
many overseas Chinese had been compelled to leave Mongolia and return
to China to avoid being transferred, at the Government's behest,
from the places where they lived and worked. She mentioned the case
not because the people concerned had been Chinese but simply to
inquire whether such cases still occurred. Did all people have the
right to free choice of employment? What was the employment situation
in Mongolia? What was the unemployment rate among ethnic minorities?
18. According to her information, the housing
issue was handled fairly well, but she wished to know about the
housing situation of the nomadic herdsmen. Did they have their own
settlements? If they wanted to settle down did the Government provide
them with assistance? Had the plan drawn up in 1987 to provide all
children with middle-school education by the year 1995 been carried
to completion? She had heard that there were quite a number of school-age
street children in the capital, Ulan Bator; what measures were the
Government intending to take to provide education for those children?
How was medical care provided in sparsely populated areas? Was the
State still providing free medical care?
19. Were minority languages respected? Were
there any newspapers, magazines or radio and television broadcasts
in minority languages, such as the Kazak language?
20. There were two possible reasons for there
having been no reports of cases involving discrimination (para.
18). Either there had indeed been no problems in that regard; or,
because of insufficient information and education, people were unaware
that racial discrimination constituted a crime, and minority populations
were unaware that they could protect their rights by resorting to
legal means and through the courts. The absence of reported cases
did not necessarily mean the non-existence of racial discrimination.
In any multi-ethnic society, the Government should never lower its
guard. Even if there was no apparent discrimination, Governments
should formulate laws against racial discrimination, provide education
on the importance of eliminating racial discrimination and fighting
racism, and adopt the corresponding measures.
21. With reference to article 19 of the Constitution,
quoted in paragraph 17 of the report, she asked whether Mongolia
had a State compensation law, and, if not, whether it had plans
to formulate such a law. The Constitution could only lay down a
general principle, whereas implementation required specific laws.
22. Regarding article 7, much had been done
to provide human rights education in schools, but the Committee
would like details of the Law on Education adopted in 1995 and hoped
that the next report would include any articles of the law specifically
against racial discrimination.
23. In its General Recommendation XIII (93)
the Committee had requested States parties to include in their reports
information on the training of law enforcement officials in human
rights issues. Apart from the seminars mentioned in paragraph 29,
was there any other systematic training of policemen, prosecutors,
judges and lawyers? Did they all have access to a copy of the Convention
against Racial Discrimination? Had the Convention indeed been translated
into the Mongolian language? Were concerned parties able to read
the concluding observations of the Committee?
24. Finally, she asked whether the Mongolian
Government was prepared to ratify the amendment to article 8, paragraph
6, of the Convention and whether it was considering the possibility
of making the declaration under article 14.
25. Mr. VALENCIA RODRÍGUEZ welcomed the
demographic data provided, such information being crucial when assessing
the implementation of the Convention in a multi-ethnic country such
as Mongolia. With reference to the implementation of article 2,
which was of fundamental importance, he was pleased to learn that
the Mongolian Constitution prohibited ethnic discrimination, meaning
that the various ethnic groups could practise their languages and
preserve their cultures and traditions. More details were needed,
however, on the socio-economic conditions of those ethnic groups,
which probably did not all enjoy the same level of development.
Any measures adopted by the Mongolian Government to raise the standard
of living of those groups would fall within the scope of article
26. Stressing the importance of the 1993 Law
on the Legal Status of Foreign Citizens, he pointed out that paragraph
7 of its article 10 stated that, in certain cases, restrictions
could be imposed on the rights and freedoms of foreign citizens,
with the exception of basic human rights. He inquired whether those
basic human rights included the prohibition on racial discrimination,
whether such restrictions had ever been imposed and on which rights
27. Regarding implementation of article 4, the
information contained in paragraph 8 suggested that only the provisions
of article 4 (a) and not 4 (b) were met. The Committee would appreciate
further clarification on that point.
28. He requested more information on the exercise
of the rights set out in article 5 of the Convention, in particular
economic, social and cultural rights.
29. The information on the implementation of
article 6 was very sketchy. The Committee would like to acquaint
itself with the legislation which gave effect to the guarantees
contained in article 19 of the Constitution and the provisions of
article 6 of the Convention so as to be able to assess whether legal,
administrative or other recourse was open to victims of acts of
racial discrimination and whether adequate reparation or satisfaction
could be obtained for damage suffered.
30. He welcomed the information provided on
efforts made to promote tolerance and heighten awareness of basic
human rights, as required by article 7 of the Convention. That was
particularly important given the many ethnic groups in Mongolia.
The adoption by the State Great Hural of Mongolia of the State Policy
on Culture (para. 26) had been a positive step. As that decision
was relatively recent, he hoped that the next country report would
contain more data on how the policy had been implemented and what
it had achieved.
31. The Committee recommended that the efforts
by the mass media to disseminate information about the purposes
and principles of human rights instruments be intensified, especially
among ethnic groups, and that such information be translated into
their languages. Dissemination should include Mongolia's periodic
reports and the Committee's concluding observations.
32. Mr. NOBEL commended the Mongolian Government
for its report, which had followed the Committee's guidelines. Mongolia
was one of the few countries that did not appear in the most recent
report of Amnesty International; the International Labour Organization
(ILO) report on the provisions of the International Convention on
the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination also contained
only positive remarks on that country.
33. Paragraph 2 said that a number of foreign
citizens were "residing privately" in Mongolia. Were there
other groups which were not residing privately there? He also drew
attention to the surprisingly small number of residents from the
large neighbouring countries, namely the Russian Federation and
China. Was there any explanation for that? He raised the question
because in the World Directory of Minorities of the Minority Rights
Group International it was suggested that there might be some tension
or animosity directed against Russians still in the country. Was
there any substance to that assertion?
34. Mr. de GOUTTES said that, since nearly 10
years had passed since the consideration of the tenth report, Mongolia's
fifteenth periodic report was rather brief and general in some areas;
moreover, some of the information provided was more relevant to
the work of the Human Rights Committee.
35. The otherwise interesting information on
article 7 of the Criminal Code covered only one part of article
4 (a) of the Convention, whereas nothing was said about making racist
violence and incitement to such acts, as well as activities promoting
or financing racist activities or participation in organizations
which promoted racial discrimination, a criminal offence. Paragraphs
6 and 18 asserted that there was no racial discrimination in Mongolia,
which explained why the information was incomplete and no data had
been provided on complaints, prosecution and judgments. But quite
apart from the fact that the Committee did not usually accept the
claim that there was no racial discrimination in a country, the
Country Rapporteur had rightly asked whether the absence of complaints
was not due to unawareness of their rights and the relevant legislation
among the members of the many ethnic groups in Mongolia. He, too,
stressed that comprehensive legislation against racism was necessary
not only for punitive, but also for preventive and educational reasons.
36. He hoped that Mongolia would take steps
to make the Convention known by publicizing its periodic reports
and the Committee's concluding observations.
37. Mr. van BOVEN noted that Mongolia had been
one of the first States parties to ratify the Convention. At the
time, it had made a number of statements and reservations, which
stemmed from that period. For example, upon ratification, the Mongolian
People's Republic had stated that the provision in article 17 (1)
of the Convention whereby a number of States were deprived of the
opportunity to become parties to the Convention was of a discriminatory
nature, and it had held that, in accordance with the principle of
the sovereign equality of States, the Convention should be open
to participation by all interested States without discrimination
or restriction of any kind. As was well known, that statement had
been inspired by the contested status of the German Democratic Republic,
and he asked the Mongolian Government to consider withdrawing it.
Mongolia had withdrawn a reservation that had been made in connection
with article 22 of the Convention relating to the role of the International
Court of Justice, and he hoped it would also consider withdrawing
another statement which had likewise lost much of its meaning, namely
the one made on 7 June 1984 relating to the question of the lawful
representative Government of Cambodia.
38. He urged the Mongolian Government to consider
ratifying the amendment to article 8 on financing the work of the
Committee and to agree to make the declaration under article 14.
39. Mr. SHERIFIS, welcoming the resumption of
the dialogue with the State party, hoped that Mongolia would report
regularly in the future.
40. Concerning implementation of article 3,
he was struck by the categorical statement in paragraph 6, one which
the Committee had never accepted. To the credit of the State party,
however, it was not asserted that there was therefore no need to
legislate in accordance with article 4.
41. He welcomed the information on the wide
range of activities undertaken in Mongolia to promote respect for
human rights and inform the public about human rights instruments.
Would the Committee's concluding observations be made known to the
public at large? Was Mongolia considering the establishment of a
national institution to facilitate the implementation of the Convention,
as recommended by the Committee in its General Recommendation XVII?
42. The CHAIRMAN, speaking in his capacity as
a member of the Committee and referring to a point made by Mr. van
Boven about Mongolia's statement on article 17, said that, in his
view, Mongolia had been right to make that statement and should
be commended for it. Many countries had done so, because the wording
in question was a restrictive formulation devised by some countries
to prevent others from acceding to certain conventions.
43. Mr. Sherifis took the Chair.
44. Mr. TUMUR (Mongolia), responding to the
Committee's questions and comments said that Mongolia was facing
the economic difficulties common to former socialist countries and
was doing its utmost to overcome them. His Government was very grateful
for the Committee's support in the current situation.
45. Replying to questions about the Kazaks,
he said that that minority group had its own province, secondary
schools, television and radio stations and newspapers, and the Kazak
people held their own elections. He himself was a member of the
Bayad minority. Many members of Parliament were from minority groups.
46. Mongolia had experienced many changes in
the 10 years since the submission of its previous report. Today,
Kazaks and all other minorities had their own places of worship.
For example, there were about 40 Christian churches.
47. Since the adoption of the new Constitution,
no discrimination against minorities or disputes among minorities
had been observed. Ownership rights for minorities were protected
by law. Minorities had the right to work in all professions. Unemployment,
which was increasing in Mongolia, affected all groups equally. The
Constitution protected the rights of minorities with regard to language,
culture and education.
48. Ms. Zou had referred to small businesses
run by Chinese in Mongolia. It was worth noting that many foreigners
had businesses in Mongolia; some of them were big companies.
49. He said the delegation would reply to the
remaining questions at the next meeting.
50. The Mongolian delegation withdrew.
Draft concluding observations concerning
the eleventh to thirteenth periodic reports of Austria (CERD/C/54/Misc.18/Rev.2,
51. Mr. NOBEL (Country Rapporteur) said he had
incorporated a number of comments by members of the Committee in
the revised version of the draft concluding observations. However,
he had not deleted paragraphs 3 and 4, as suggested by Mr. Banton,
because he felt it was appropriate to mention some positive aspects,
particularly the establishment of a National Fund to compensate
all victims of National Socialism.
Paragraphs 1 and 2
52. Paragraphs 1 and 2 were adopted.
53. Mr. SHAHI said that the term genocide was
more than just a crime against humanity. The term also included
crimes against peace, waging a war of aggression, war crimes, etc.,
and he suggested that that should be made clear.
54. Mr. DIACONU said there was a distinction
between genocide, crimes against humanity and other violations of
humanitarian law. He suggested deleting the words "against
humanity" in the first sentence.
55. Mr. de GOUTTES said that genocide was the
most serious of all crimes against humanity. He felt that the phrase
"as a crime against humanity" was too weak and should
56. Mr. van BOVEN, supported by Mr. NOBEL (Country
Rapporteur) and Mr. de GOUTTES, proposed rewording the phrase to
read: "the State party has condemned genocide as a crime under
57. Paragraph 3, as amended, was adopted.
Paragraphs 4 to 7
58. Paragraphs 4 to 7 were adopted.
59. Mr. GARVALOV said that the first sentence
belonged under the heading "Positive aspects".
60. Mr. van BOVEN proposed amalgamating the
first two sentences by inserting "While the Committee"
at the beginning of the first and amending the beginning of the
second to read: "It is nevertheless concerned".
61. Paragraph 8, as amended, was adopted.
62. Mr. NOBEL (Country Rapporteur), responding
to a question by Mr. VALENCIA RODRÍGUEZ, said that "work
councils" in Austria were bodies in which management and staff
discussed issues of joint concern. The fact that foreign employees
were not eligible for participation in such bodies was an obstacle
to their full integration.
63. Mr. DIACONU proposed that the last sentence
should be detached as a separate paragraph.
64. Mr. de GOUTTES proposed adding the following
phrase to the new paragraph: "and ethnic minorities, including
65. Paragraph 9, as amended, was adopted.
66. Mr. van BOVEN wondered whether it was appropriate
to comment on such details as the use of the word "sole"
in the Federal Constitution Act.
67. Mr. NOBEL (Country Rapporteur) said that
the inclusion of the word "sole" made it difficult for
complainants against racism in legislative and administrative acts
to litigate successfully. The provision read: "Legislation
and administration must both refrain from making distinctions on
the sole basis of race, skin, colour, descent, or national or ethnic
68. Paragraph 10 was adopted.
69. Mr. GARVALOV proposed replacing "further
information" in the second sentence by "more detailed
70. Paragraph 11, as amended, was adopted.
Paragraphs 12 to 17
71. Paragraphs 12 to 17 were adopted, subject
to minor editorial changes in paragraphs 13, 15 and 16.
72. Mr. de GOUTTES regretted that the wording
of paragraph 18 was so weak.
73. Mr. van BOVEN said he agreed entirely, but
pointed out that it represented a compromise worked out by Mr. Aboul-Nasr
and Mr. Banton, and in their absence he would be reluctant to propose
74. The CHAIRMAN said that that wording had
been used in relation to other States parties and that the question
was one of principle and should not be debated now.
75. Paragraph 18 was adopted.
76. Paragraph 19 was adopted.
77. The draft concluding observations concerning
the eleventh to thirteenth periodic reports of Austria as a whole,
as amended, were adopted.
Draft concluding observations concerning the
fifth to eighth periodic reports of Portugal (CERD/C/54/Misc.27/Rev.2,
78. Mr. GARVALOV (Country Rapporteur) said that
the draft concluding observations incorporated suggestions by various
79. Paragraph 1 was adopted.
80. Mr. SHAHI suggested that the expression
"additional information" might be changed to "more
81. After a discussion in which Mr. GARVALOV
(Country Rapporteur), the CHAIRMAN, Mr. SHAHI and Mr. van BOVEN
took part, over whether the two expressions differed in their connotations
or were technically related to information under, for example, the
prevention procedure, the CHAIRMAN suggested that the current wording
should be retained, subject to a discussion of terminology and usage
on another occasion.
82. Paragraph 2 was adopted.
Paragraphs 3 to 5
83. Paragraphs 3 to 5 were adopted.
84. Mr. van BOVEN, supported by Mr. YUTZIS,
said that the word "Gypsy", which had been used in the
country report without any apparent negative connotation, did have
negative or offensive connotations in other countries. It was not
necessary to adopt the State party's wording and he suggested using
85. The CHAIRMAN, speaking as a member of the
Committee, said that it was necessary to take the State party's
sensitivities and preferences into account. Portugal had submitted
its report in French, and had used the term "gitan", which
appeared to have no negative connotations.
86. Mr. GARVALOV (Country Rapporteur), supported
by Mr. de GOUTTES, suggested using "Roma/Gypsy" when speaking
on behalf of the Committee, and "Gypsy" when quoting the
87. Mr. NOBEL said that he suspected that in
Portugal there might be no negative connotation. The Committee might
not be aware of all the implications of the issue: some members
of the community in question preferred "Gypsy", others
preferred "Roma". He was concerned that the solution suggested
- "Roma/Gypsy" - might lead people to believe the Committee
was referring to a specific kind of Gypsy. He suggested using "Roma
88. Mr. SHAHI suggested replacing "interest"
with "appreciation" in the first sentence.
89. Paragraph 6, as amended by Mr. Nobel and
Mr. Shahi, was adopted.
90. Mr. YUTZIS suggested inserting the words
"the situation of" after the word "regularize".
91. Paragraph 7, as amended, was adopted.
92. Paragraph 8 was adopted, subject to minor
The meeting rose at 6 p.m.