GENEVA (03 December 2021) - The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) today issued its findings on Chile, Denmark, Singapore, Switzerland and Thailand, the States parties that it reviewed during its latest session.
The findings contain positive aspects of each country's implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, as well as the Committee's main concerns and recommendations. Some of the key highlights include:
The Committee was concerned about the excessive use of force by Carabineros, the national police, against members of Mapuche communities during public demonstrations. It called on the State party to ensure that law enforcement officials act in full compliance with human rights, particularly during mass gathering, and refrain from using violence against indigenous communities.
The Committee remained deeply concerned by the desecration of sacred sites, and the negative impact on the environment, health, and traditional ways of life of indigenous communities owing to the installation of waste disposal sites on their territories. It recommended that Chile undertake systematic environmental impact assessments and ensure indigenous people are consulted prior to the approval of any investment project.
The Committee was concerned about the extent of underreporting and the lack of comprehensive data on hate crimes and hate speech incidents in Denmark. It recommended that the State party raise the awareness of what constitutes hate crimes and which forms of hate speech are punishable under criminal law. It requested the authorities to set up a data collection system in which racist hate crimes and hate speech incidents are registered separately with disaggregated data, including offence category, type of motivation, target group, and judicial follow-up.
Concerning the recent amendment to the Danish Aliens Act that allows the transfer of asylum seekers to a third country outside of the European Union, the Committee reminded Denmark of its obligation under relevant international law regarding the protection of asylum seekers. It also called on the State party to revisit its evaluation of designating Damascus and Rif Damascus as safe zones to return people whose temporary protection status has been revoked or whose request for extension of temporary protection status has been denied.
CERD observed that Singapore had not taken sufficient measures to address structural discrimination against ethnic minorities; it expressed concern about the high proportion of ethnic minorities in the country’s criminal justice system, especially on death row. It recommended that the State party ensure minority groups in the criminal justice system have full access to legal aid and health services.
With regard to the situation of migrant workers, the Committee recommended that Singapore allow them to change jobs without requiring consent of their employers, and to put an end to wage discrimination based on nationality.
The Committee expressed concern about the growing number of cases of racial hate speech against Yenish, Sinti, Roma, people of African and Asia descent, as well as ethnic or religious hate speech against Jews and Muslims on the Internet and social media. It called on the State Party to take steps to prevent and combat racial hate speech and to ensure that all reported cases are thoroughly investigated.
The Committee was also concerned about the persistence of racial profiling by the police. The Committee requested the State party to formulate an action plan to combat racial profiling in consultation with population groups most at risk and to take further legislative measure to prohibit racial profiling.
The Committee expressed concern over the mass collection and use of DNA samples from ethnic and ethno religious groups in southern border provinces, as well as the use of facial recognition technology based on ethnicity. It called on Thailand to take measures to prohibit racial profiling and strengthen trainings for law enforcement officers and military personnel. It also asked the State party to eliminate the collection of DNA samples, the use of facial recognition technology, and to prevent the entry of such data into law enforcement databases that could lead to racial bias.
In addition, the Committee was concerned about the multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination faced by ethnic and ethno-religious groups and indigenous peoples including, the Isaan, Karen, Lahu, Malayu Thais, Mani, Moken, and Urak Lawoi. The Committee asked Thailand to address the barriers that prevent these minority groups from accessing public services and to implement policies to reduce their poverty.
The above Concluding Observations of the Committee are now available online on the session webpage.
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The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination monitors States parties’ adherence to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which, to date has 182 States parties. The Committee is made up of 18 members who are independent human rights experts drawn from around the world, who serve in their personal capacity and not as representatives of States parties.
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