Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION
OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
30 July – 17 August 2001
360. The Committee considered the fifteenth and sixteenth periodic reports of Ukraine (CERD/C/384/Add.2), due on 6 April 1998 and 2000 respectively, at its 1482nd and 1483rd meetings (CERD/C/SR.1482 and 1483), on 9 and 10 August 2001. At its 1491st and 1492nd meetings (CERD/C/SR.1491 and 1492), on 16 August 2001, it adopted the following concluding observations.
361. The Committee welcomes the fifteenth and sixteenth periodic reports of Ukraine as well as the additional information that the State party’s delegation provided during its oral presentation.
B. Factors and difficulties impeding the implementation of the Convention
362. The Committee acknowledges the statement of the State party that it is in a process of significant political, economic and social reform.
C. Positive aspects
363. The Committee notes with satisfaction the continuing efforts of the State party to reform its legislation, including its Criminal Code, the abolition of the death penalty and the creation of an appeals court system, and in particular the State party’s recent adoption of the Law on Refugees of January 2000, the Citizenship Law of January 2001 and the Law on Immigration of June 2001.
364. The Committee notes the number of provisions in domestic legislation, in particular article 37 of the Constitution, article 66 of the Criminal Code and the provisions of the National Minorities Act, prohibiting the dissemination of racial and ethnic hate propaganda and the creation of organizations and political parties that are based upon racial hatred or discrimination. The Committee also notes that legal action has been taken against publications and organizations for fomenting anti-Semitism and inter-ethnic hatred.
365. Since issues relating to minority languages have remained one of the most salient problems of inter-ethnic relations in Ukraine, the Committee welcomes the State party’s efforts to provide educational opportunities in a number of minority languages as detailed in paragraphs 56-58 of the State party report.
366. The Committee commends the continuing efforts by the State party to resettle and rehabilitate the Crimean Tatars, who were deported decades earlier.
367. The Committee also welcomes the announcement that a new census will take place in December this year.
D. Concerns and recommendations
368. The Committee regrets the lack of information in the report, despite the Committee's previous request to this effect, on demographic data that compare the socio-economic status of various ethnic groups in the population. The Committee recommends that the State party in its next report provide data on the composition of the population, as requested in the reporting guidelines of the Committee. If possible, such data should also be disaggregated by gender.
369. The Committee is concerned that national legislation does not contain sufficient provisions prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of race or ethnic or national origin in conformity with the requirements of the Convention. The Committee recommends that the State party take all appropriate legislative measures to ensure that the provisions of the Convention are fully reflected in domestic law. The Committee emphasizes the importance of adequately prohibiting and penalizing acts of racial segregation and discrimination whether they are committed by individuals or associations.
370. In particular, the Committee recommends again that the State party review its legislation in order to ensure that it meets fully the requirements of article 4.
371. The Committee also recommends that the State party adopt effective measures, pursuant to article 5 of the Convention, guaranteeing equal enjoyment of the rights enumerated in those provisions to all ethnic groups within Ukraine, without distinction based on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin.
372. The Committee is concerned that institutions to enforce laws against racial discrimination and provide remedies and recourse measures are not sufficiently utilized. The Committee requests the State party to include in its next periodic report information about complaints filed, investigations and prosecutions initiated, and criminal or civil sanctions imposed in cases of offences which have a bearing on racial discrimination, including the outcome of investigations of complaints filed with the Human Rights Ombudsman. The Committee also requests that the next report contain information on steps taken by the State party to educate the public about the existence of the recourse measures and how they may be utilized by victims.
373. The Committee is concerned about reports of the continuing discriminatory treatment of Roma and violence against them and their property. The Committee is particularly concerned about reports of police brutality against the Roma population, including arbitrary arrests and illegal detention. The Committee recommends that the State party take immediate and effective steps to stop these abuses and that the next report contain information on human rights training for the police, investigations of complaints of abuse and disciplinary and criminal measures taken against those found guilty of committing abuses.
374. While noting efforts made by the State party to facilitate the resettlement and rehabilitation of Crimean Tartars, the Committee reiterates its concern regarding the difficulties experienced by the Crimean Tartars in acquiring Ukrainian citizenship. At the same time it was felt that this resettlement should not generate new ethnic tensions that might lead to conflict between Crimean Tatars and other minorities. The Committee recommends that the State party review its legislation and practices in this regard and make any revisions required by the Convention.
375. The Committee was disturbed by the oral statement of the delegation that many nationals of a certain African country are involved in drug trafficking in Ukraine. The Committee strongly recommends that the State party take actions to counter any tendency to target, stigmatize or stereotype, which could lead to racial profiling of particular population groups by police and immigration officers as well as in the media and society at large.
376. The Committee encourages the State party in its efforts to ensure education and teaching in the mother tongue of minorities, wherever possible.
377. Noting that it has not yet received any individual communications from persons under the jurisdiction of the State party, although the State party has accepted the jurisdiction of the Committee under article 14, the Committee recommends that the State party ensure that the public is well informed of the possibility of submitting such communications to the Committee.
378. The Committee recommends that the State party’s reports continue to be made readily available to the public from the time they are submitted and that the Committee’s observations on them be similarly publicized.
379. The Committee recommends that the State party submit its seventeenth periodic report jointly with its eighteenth periodic report, due on 6 April 2004, and that it address all points raised in the present observations.
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights