The Irish Government is presenting its State Report to CERD (Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination) in Geneva in December 2019. In response to this, INAR has produced a Collective Civil Society Alternative Report through a process of consultation over the summer of 2019, for the CERD examination.
The United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (UN CERD)
The United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (UN CERD) is a United Nations convention that was written in the 60s’ when the UN took into account that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was not enough to hold governments into account regarding racial discrimination. The convention was adopted by the UN in 1965. Ireland ratified the Convention in 2000.
What does the convention say?
The Convention has 25 Articles. Articles 2 to 7 list States obligations:
- Art 2: Measures to be taken to eliminate racial discrimination.
- Art 3: Racial segregation and apartheid.
- Art 4: Prohibition of racial incitement.
- Art 5: Equality in the enjoyment of rights.
- Art 6: Remedies for racial discrimination.
- Art 7: Education.
The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) is the UN body of human rights experts tasked with monitoring the implementation of the ICERD Convention. It consists of 18 independent human rights experts, elected for four-year terms. All countries who ratified the convention are required to submit regular reports to the Committee outlining the legislative, judicial, policy and other measures they have taken to give effect to the Convention. Reports are supposedly due every two years but actually expected every 5 years.
Ireland and CERD
The Committee examines each country approximately every 5 years and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the state party in the form of “concluding observations”. The Irish Government is required to implement CERD recommendations within that time, however, its reporting to CERD is now overdue, as the last report was submitted in 2011.
Before the publication of the final report, the Government conducted a consultation process where individuals and organisations were asked for submissions in response to the initial Government’s draft 5th to 7th Report (Sometimes also referred to as the 5th to 9th Report). INAR issued its submission. In October 2018 the Department of Justice submitted their final 5th to 9th Combined report to the CERD.
The Irish Government is presenting its State Report to the CERD committee in Geneva for examination in December 2019.
Undertanding the process with cerd
The NGO Reporting Process
At the same time as the Government report, the Committee wants the following parallel reports from each State Party:
- National Human Rights Institution (NHRI), which in Ireland’s case is IHREC.
- Alternative Reports from Civil Society Organisations, both from individual organisations and collective. Collective Civil Society Alternative reports are considered stronger. INAR coordinated Ireland’s Collective Civil Society Alternative Report through a process of consultation over the summer of 2019 and produced the Collective Civil Society Alternative Report for Ireland.
The International Movement against all Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR) who support NGOs to report to CERD has produced a comprehensive guide for Civil Society Actors