Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
Committee on the Elimination of
Sixty-first session (5-23 August 2002)
451. The Committee considered the eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth periodic reports of Yemen (CERD/C/362/Add.8), submitted in one document, which were due on 17 November 1993, 1995, 1997 and 1999, respectively, at its 1535th and 1536th meetings (CERD/C/SR.1535 and 1536) held on 12 and 13 August 2002. At its 1549th meeting (CERD/C/SR.1549), held on 21 August 2002, it adopted the following concluding observations.
452. The Committee welcomes the eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth periodic reports, submitted in one document, as well as the additional information that the State party’s delegation provided during its oral presentation and its detailed and frank answers to the wide range of questions formulated by members of the Committee. The Committee also expresses its appreciation for the opportunity to renew its dialogue with the State party after a lapse of 10 years.
453. The Committee welcomes recent developments in the State party with regard to human rights, in particular the measures of social welfare undertaken by the State party to improve the living conditions of marginalized individuals and groups.
454. The Committee welcomes the State party’s willingness to cooperate with United Nations bodies and NGOs in the field of human rights, including on issues relating to racial discrimination, and the progress made by Yemen in opening up a dialogue with civil society.
455. Noting with satisfaction the appointment of a Minister of State for Human Rights in Yemen, the Committee welcomes General Electoral Act No. 27 of 1996, including its amendments of 1999, and the Political Parties and Organizations Act recognizing fundamental freedoms, including political and party pluralism.
456. The Committee welcomes the establishment of a Higher National Human Rights Committee which monitors the fulfilment of the State party’s obligations.
Factors and difficulties impeding the implementation of the Convention
457. The Committee acknowledges that, as a result of the civil war in mid-1994, the State party suffered serious socio-economic and political difficulties which affect its capacity to implement fully the provisions in the Convention. The Committee recognizes that some of these difficulties persist in the State party.
Concerns and recommendations
458. The Committee expresses concern about the fact that the national legislation of Yemen does not contain explicit provisions prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of race or ethnic and national origin, in conformity with the provisions of the Convention.
459. The Committee regrets the lack of information in the report, despite the Committee’s previous requests, concerning the demographic composition of the population and the socio-economic status of ethnic groups. The Committee recommends that the State party in its next report provide detailed information on the composition of the population, as requested in the reporting guidelines of the Committee. It also recommends that the State party provide specific information on the economic and social status of all groups covered by the Convention, as well as on their participation in public life.
460. The Committee is not satisfied with the claim by the State party that there is no racial discrimination in Yemen. It recommends that the State party take effective measures to prevent racial discrimination and give full effect to the provisions of the Convention.
461. The Committee expresses concern at the absence of an explicit penal provision in the State party’s legislation in respect of the mandatory provision prohibiting the dissemination and promotion of racial discrimination and violence formulated in article 4 of the Convention. The Committee recommends that the State party revise its Penal Code in order to introduce specific legislation and implement the provisions of article 4.
462. While noting that the State party has provided information under article 5 of the Convention despite the reservations lodged, the Committee invites the State party to continue to provide specific information on how this article is implemented and to consider formally withdrawing those reservations.
463. Given recent political developments, the Committee also invites the State party to consider formally withdrawing its reservations to articles 17, 18 and 20 of the Convention.
464. The Committee notes the information given by the delegation regarding the conditions governing the acquisition of Yemeni nationality. The Committee recommends that the State party take effective measures to ensure the right to acquire nationality for non-citizens, including for non-Muslims and children of mixed couples, without any discrimination.
465. With regard to the right to equal treatment before the courts, the Committee notes the absence of information in the report on cases relating to racial discrimination. It recommends that the State party include in its next periodic report specific information on any such cases.
466. In connection with the implementation of article 7 of the Convention, the Committee suggests that the State party consider intensifying human rights education and training of law enforcement officers, teachers, social workers and public servants, and draws attention to its general recommendation XIII in that regard.
467. The Committee recommends that the State party take into account the relevant parts of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action when implementing the Convention in the domestic legal order, in particular in respect of articles 2 to 7 of the Convention, and that it include in its next periodic report information on action plans or other measures taken to implement the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action at the national level.
468. The Committee recommends that the State party’s reports be made readily available to the public from the time they are submitted and that the Committee’s concluding observations on them be similarly publicized.
469. It is noted that the State party has not made the optional declaration provided for in article 14 of the Convention, and the Committee recommends that the possibility of doing so be considered.
470. The Committee recommends that the State party submit its fifteenth periodic report jointly with its sixteenth periodic report, due on 17 November 2005, that it be an updating report and that it address the points raised in the present concluding observations.
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights