20 August 1999

Original: ENGLISH
Statement on Africa : . 08/20/1999.
A/54/18,para.24. (Other Treaty-Related Document)

Convention Abbreviation: CERD
55th session
2-27 August 1999

Statement on Africa

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination,

Extremely concerned over the growing ethnic conflicts and the inadequacy of attempts to prevent and mitigate them in the Great Lakes region and certain other parts of Africa,

Reiterating its recent decisions, declarations and concluding observations, such as decision 3 (49) of 22 August 1996 on Liberia, resolution 1 (49) of 7 August 1996 on Burundi, decisions 3 (51) of 20 August 1997, 1 (52) of 19 March 1998, and 4 (53) of 18 August 1998 on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the declaration of 13 March 1996 on Rwanda, the concluding observations on Rwanda of 20 March 1997, the concluding observations on Burundi of 21 August 1997, decisions 4 (52) of 20 March 1998, 5 (53) of 19 August 1998 and 3 (54) of 19 March 1999 on Rwanda, decision 5 (54) of 19 March 1999 on the Sudan, which were the results of the Committee’s consideration of the ethnic conflicts in these States parties under its early warning and urgent action procedures within the context of the Convention,

Aware of the important initiatives undertaken recently by the Organization of African Unity which has also proposed taking urgent measures in order to cope with the tragic situation in Central Africa, and expressing its appreciation for the significant mediating efforts by the heads of State of four African countries at their meeting in South Africa on 8 August 1999, reflected in a solemn declaration with a view to overcoming current crises and ethnic conflicts,

Expressing its appreciation to the Secretary-General of the United Nations for his report on the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa (A/52/871-S/1998/318, dated 13 April 1998), presented to the General Assembly and the Security Council, in which he stated that among the warring parties and factions “the main aim, increasingly, is the destruction not just of armies but of civilians and entire ethnic groups”, and suggested specific measures inter alia, to promote peacemaking, harmonizing the policies and actions of external actors, mobilizing international support for peace efforts, improving the effectiveness of sanctions and enhancing the role of United Nations peacekeeping in Africa,

Expressing its appreciation to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights for her recent and important initiatives directly related to ethnic conflicts in Africa, mentioned above, and its full support for the High Commissioner’s actions,

1. Expresses its alarm at the growing mass and flagrant violations of human rights of the peoples and ethnic communities in Central Africa, in particular, massacres and even genocide perpetrated against ethnic communities, and resulting in massive displacement of people, millions of refugees, and ever deepening ethnic conflicts.

2. Urges the United Nations to take urgent action and effective measures under the Charter of the United Nations to put an end to these conflicts in Central Africa, to stop the massacres and the genocide, and to facilitate the safe return of the refugees and the displaced persons in their homes.

3. Urges all States and all United Nations bodies to support the initiatives and appeals of the Organization of African Unity and the heads of State of the four African countries in seeking a solution to current crises and ethnic conflicts in Central Africa.

1362nd meeting
20 August 1999

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Geneva, Switzerland