Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION
30 July – 17 August 2001
In light of the failure of the State party to submit its initial through thirteenth periodic reports, the Committee considered the situation in the Republic of Liberia under its review procedures. Additionally, in its decision 3 (49)
*, the Committee decided to remain seized with the situation in Liberia under its early warning and urgent action procedures.
The Committee regrets that the State party has failed to submit a single report in accordance with article 9 of the Convention since it ratified the Convention in 1976.
The Committee also regrets that after numerous invitations and inquiries, the State party failed to send a representative to engage in a dialogue with the Committee.
B. Factors and difficulties impeding the implementation of the Convention
The State party is still slowly emerging from over seven years of civil war which had immense human costs and was destructive of governmental and social institutions.
C. Concerns and recommendations
The Committee is concerned that national legislation does not contain explicit 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 Republic of Liberia 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.
The Committee also recommends that the Republic of Liberia adopt effective measures, pursuant to the provisions of the Convention, guaranteeing equal enjoyment of the rights enumerated in those provisions to all ethnic groups within the Republic of Liberia.
The Committee expresses grave concern about the numerous reported instances of discrimination in the Republic of Liberia based on ethnicity. The Committee is especially concerned by reports of extrajudicial killings, allegations of torture and rape, and the lack of accountability of perpetrators, including government security forces, for these abuses.
The Committee expresses its concerns about the vulnerable situation of the large number of refugees who have fled the Republic of Liberia for neighbouring countries, and that little seems to have been put into place to ensure their repatriation and reintegration. In addition, the reports of discrimination against Sierra Leonean refugees are disturbing.
With respect to article 7 of the Convention, the Committee notes that very little information is available on measures, particularly in the fields of teaching, education, culture and information, with a view to combating prejudices which lead to racial discrimination.
The Committee urges the Republic of Liberia to take immediate and effective measures aimed at bringing to justice the perpetrators of human rights abuses during the civil war which targeted members of certain ethnic groups.
The State party should also guarantee swift and thoroughgoing investigation and prosecution of acts of violence against persons belonging to ethnic and racial groups.
With regard to article 6 of the Convention, the Committee recommends that the Republic of Liberia facilitate access to and ensure the effectiveness of courts and administrative bodies in enforcing the rights of racial and ethnic groups to be free from discrimination.
The Committee requests that the Republic of Liberia give wide publicity to the Convention and to the Committee’s observations.
The Committee considers the situation in Liberia to be extremely grave with respect to the implementation of the Convention. The Committee decides to send a letter to the State party conveying its deep concern and expressing its willingness to send one or more of its members to visit Liberia with a view to initiating a dialogue with the State party and assisting it in fulfilling its obligations under the Convention.
Fifty-first Session, Supplement No. 18
(A/51/18), chap. II, sect. B.
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights