Concluding observations of the Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination
1. The Committee considered the fourteenth periodic report of Iraq (CERD/C/320/Add.3) at its 1344th and 1345th meetings (see CERD/C/SR.1344 and 1345), on 9 and 10 August 1999, and adopted, at its 1360th meeting (see CERD/C/SR.1360), on 19 August 1999, the following concluding observations.
4. The Committee joins the appeals to the international community and the United Nations, in particular, the Security Council, for the lifting of those embargo provisions affecting, in particular, the humanitarian situation of the population of Iraq.
5. The fact that the State's Central Administration lacks control over the northern governorates, where large numbers of Kurds, Turkmen and Assyrians live, the infighting between Kurdish factions and foreign military incursions by foreign powers, hamper the implementation of the Convention by the State party in that region and makes it difficult for the Committee to exercise its monitoring functions.
6. Despite all the difficulties the Committee considers that the Government of Iraq maintains the competence for the implementation of its obligations under the terms of the Convention.
8. The Committee welcomes the measures taken by the Government of Iraq to clarify the situation of persons, including foreigners, who disappeared during the Gulf War.
9. The Committee equally welcomes the fact that an important number of refugees and other foreigners are received and live in Iraq.
10. It also welcomes the information from the Government that the internal legal order makes it possible for individuals to directly invoke the provisions of the Convention before the courts and that Iraqi legislation contains provisions prescribing penalties for acts of racial discrimination.
12. Concern is also expressed over allegations that the non-Arab population living in the Kirkuk and Khanaquin areas, especially the Kurds, Turkmen and Assyrians, have been subjected by local Iraqi authorities to measures such as forced relocation, denial of equal access to employment and educational opportunities and limitations in the exercise of their rights linked to the ownership of real estate.
13. It is also noted with concern that the situation prevailing in the northern governorates has caused much suffering and the forced displacement of a large part of the population, including for members of ethnic groups living in the area.
14. Although the Penal Code contains provisions prohibiting the establishment or membership of any association, organization or body seeking to incite intercommunal conflict or provoke feelings of hatred and animosity among the population, such provisions do not fully reflect the requirements of article 4 of the Convention.
16. While underlining that the Government of Iraq retains the competence for the implementation of the Convention in the northern region, the Committee appeals for the establishment of a climate of peace and understanding among the different Kurdish factions and between Kurds and other persons living in the region. The Committee also appeals to the different States and forces involved in the region to stop any activities leading to or encouraging ethnic conflict and intolerance, and contribute to the peace and respect of human rights of the entire population.
17. Allegations concerning discrimination against members of ethnic minorities in the Kirkuk and Khanaquin areas, as mentioned above, should be examined by the State party. The Committee requests to be informed about the result of such investigations.
18. The Committee recommends that the State party review its legislation in order to make it comply fully with the requirements of article 4 of the Convention.
19. Measures should be taken in order to ensure that law enforcement officials receive an effective training on all matters relating to all aspects of non-discrimination covered by the Convention.
20. The State party should include in its next periodic report updated data illustrating the level of enjoyment by the different ethnic groups of the economic and social rights enshrined in article 5 of the Convention. It should also provide information about the following issues: the breakdown of the demographic composition of the population; statistics reflecting the number of persons belonging to the different minorities who are employed as civil servants in the central or local administrations; decisions issued by domestic courts as a result of complaints of racial discrimination; impact of the restrictions to the acquisition of real property, taking into account the composition of the population in the governorate of Baghdad.
21. The Committee also requests the State party to provide further information about the enjoyment by members of minorities of the right to freedom of movement and residence within the country and the right to leave their own country and return to it.
22. The Committee recommends that the text of the Convention, the periodic report, and the present concluding observations be made widely available to the public at large, also in the languages of the minorities.
23. The Committee recommends that the State party ratify the amendments to article 8, paragraph 6, of the Convention, adopted on 15 January 1992 during the fourteenth meeting of State parties to the Convention.
24. It is noted that the State party has not made the declaration provided for in article 14 of the Convention, and some members of the Committee requested that the possibility of such a declaration be considered.
25. The Committee recommends that the State party's next periodic report, which was due on 13 February 1999, be a comprehensive report, and that it address the matters raised in the present concluding observations.