The Philippines and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
This page provides information relating to the forthcoming consideration, in August 2009, by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in Geneva of the Philippines’ records on implementing the Convention on the Rights of the Child since its last analysis in 1997.
What is the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination?
The Convention was adopted on 21 December 1965 by the UN General Assembly and consists of a preamble and 25 articles. It defines racial discrimination as “…any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life”. As well, “[s]pecial measures taken for the sole purpose of securing adequate advancement of certain racial or ethnic groups or individuals requiring such protection as may be necessary in order to ensure such groups or individuals equal enjoyment or exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms shall not be deemed racial discrimination, provided, however, that such measures do not, as a consequence, lead to the maintenance of separate rights for different racial groups and that they shall not be continued after the objectives for which they were taken have been achieved”.
What does the Convention mean for the Philippines?
By accepting the Convention, the State committed itself to comply, without delay, with the norms there recognized. The Convention defines a series of measures to be promptly taken by States, including:
- Each State Party undertakes to engage in no act or practice of racial discrimination against persons, groups of persons or institutions and to en sure that all public authorities and public institutions, national and local, shall act in conformity with this obligation;
- Each State Party undertakes not to sponsor, defend or support racial discrimination by any persons or organizations;
- Each State Party shall take effective measures to review governmental, national and local policies, and to amend, rescind or nullify any laws and regulations which have the effect of creating or perpetuating racial discrimination wherever it exists;
- Each State Party shall prohibit and bring to an end, by all appropriate means, including legislation as required by circumstances, racial discrimination by any persons, group or organization;
- Each State Party undertakes to encourage, where appropriate, integrationist multiracial organizations and movements and other means of eliminating barriers between races, and to discourage anything which tends to strengthen racial division.
Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination by its State parties.
What is treaty reporting?
All States parties are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee on how the rights are being implemented. States must report initially one year after acceding to the Convention and then every two years. The Committee examines each report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the State party in the form of “concluding observations”.
In addition to the reporting procedure, the Convention establishes three other mechanisms through which the Committee performs its monitoring functions: the early-warning procedure, the examination of inter-state complaints and the examination of individual complaints.
The Committee meets in Geneva and normally holds two sessions per year consisting of three weeks each.
The Committee also publishes its interpretation of the content of human rights provisions, known as general recommendations (or general comments), on thematic issues and organizes thematic discussions.
For more information about the work of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, click here.
The Philippines reporting under the Convention
Reporting to the Committee is an opportunity for the governments of the Philippines to present the steps it has taken to develop the country for the benefit of their citizens and to seek advice from the Committee’s experts on areas where more progress is required.
The initial report from the Philippines analysed in 1970. The last report was due on 04 January 2008, and it was submitted on 30 June 2008.
The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has decided that it will consider the situation in the Philippines at its seventy-fifth session in August 2009. The Philippines submitted the consolidated 15th to 20th report in June 2008.
- List of issues
Can NGOs and other civil society representatives participate in the process?
- Accredited national human rights institutions, on the one hand, and non-governmental organizations, on the other hand, may provide information on issues relating to the consideration of reports of States parties, on a personal level and in informal meetings outside the Committee's working hours, to members of the Committee wishing to attend such meetings, as well as respond to requests to clarify or supplement such information.
- The secretariat will inform accredited national human rights institutions, on the one hand, and non-governmental organizations, on the other hand, about the Committee's programme of work for the respective session and will provide them with copies of the reports due to be considered by the Committee.
- The Committee may organize, when it deems appropriate, informal meetings with representatives of accredited national human rights institutions, on the one hand, and non-governmental organizations, on the other hand, on issues of major importance for the implementation of the Convention. The Committee will determine the agenda and the modalities of such meetings. States parties will be invited to attend.