Concluding observations of the Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination
1. The Committee considered the tenth to thirteenth periodic reports of Haiti (CERD/C/336/Add.1) at its 1334th and 1335th meetings (see CERD/C/SR.1334 and 1335), on 2 and 3 August 1999. At its 1354th meeting (see CERD/C/SR.1354), on 16 August 1999, it adopted the following concluding observations.
5. The Committee notes that the State party's Constitution (1987) embodies the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including the prohibition of racial discrimination.
6. The Committee notes with appreciation the State party's implementation of an international cooperation programme in the field of human rights in cooperation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
8. While noting that the State party's domestic legislation (Decree of February 1981) makes all acts of racial discrimination punishable by law, concern is expressed at the lack of information on the implementation of article 4 of the Convention, especially on how this principle is applied by judges, lawyers and civil servants.
9. Although it is noted that the State party's Constitution (1987) guarantees the enjoyment, without discrimination, of most of the rights enshrined in article 5 of the Convention, concern is expressed about reports of human rights violations committed by members of the Haitian National Police and that too little is done to prevent persons perpetrating, with impunity, acts of violence related to racial discrimination. Concern is also expressed at the lack of domestic legislation to prevent acts of racial discrimination by individuals in implementation of articles 2 (1) (d) and 5 (e) of the Convention.
10. While noting that the State party's Civil Code (arts. 1168 and 1169) establishes a legal mechanism for reviewing complaints of racial discrimination on the part of the State, concern remains that this legislation does not fully reflect the provisions of article 6 of the Convention.
11. With regard to the implementation of article 7 of the Convention, concern is expressed that the Convention has not yet been translated into Creole, since this is the other official language.
13. Emphasizing the role of the judicial system in eliminating racial discrimination, while noting the current reforms to that system, the Committee requests the State party to include in its next periodic report a description of the existing legal mechanisms available to lodge complaints in cases of racial discrimination (e.g., in the light of the decree of 4 February 1981 and the relevant articles of the Civil Code). In this connection, the Committee further recommends that the State party review its domestic legislation in accordance with articles 4 and 6 of the Convention.
14. In the light of articles 2 and 5 of the Convention, the Committee recommends that the State party enact legislation for the prevention of racial discrimination in the private sector. In this connection, the Committee recommends that the State party consider the establishment of a national institution to facilitate the implementation of the Convention, in accordance with the Committee's general recommendation XVII.
15. The Committee recommends that the State party include in its next report information on the restrictions upon foreigners of different racial or ethnic origin and upon non-native Haitians, with respect to the enjoyment of the rights enumerated in article 5 of the Convention.
16. The Committee recommends that the State party consider providing education and training on racial tolerance and human rights issues to law enforcement officials, in accordance with article 7 of the Convention and general recommendation XIII of the Committee. In addition, the Committee suggests that the State party review its disciplinary action against perpetrators of police brutality with a view to reinforcing measures against such perpetrators.
17. The Committee requests the State party to include information in its next report on measures undertaken or envisaged for improving public awareness of the Convention. The Committee further suggests that the State party may wish to avail itself of the technical assistance offered under the advisory services and technical assistance programme of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
18. 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. The Committee also recommends that the State party ratify the amendments to article 8, paragraph 6, of the Convention, adopted on 15 January 1992 at the fourteenth meeting of States parties to the Convention.
19. The Committee recommends that the State party's next periodic report, due on 18 January 2000, be an updating report and that it address the points raised during the consideration of the report.