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UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to hold Thematic Discussion on the Prevention of Genocide in Geneva, 28 February-1 March 2005

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Information note for NGOs wishing to contribute to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD)’s Thematic Discussion on the Prevention of Genocide

Basic information

The 66th session of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) will convene from 21 February to 11 March 2005 at the Palais Wilson (ground floor conference room), 8-14 Avenue de la Paix, Geneva, Switzerland. During this session, the Committee will hold a thematic discussion on the Prevention of Genocide. The debate will take place on the afternoon of the 28th February and morning of 1st March. On the 28th February, States parties, UN agencies, bodies and experts, NGOs (including those without UN ECOSOC accreditation) are invited to take part in a discussion with the Committee members. The Committee members will then continue the discussion in public plenary meeting on the 1st of March.

N.B. the UN does not have any funding available to sponsor participants’ attendance.

Background

The committee held a first meeting with the newly appointed Special Adviser on the Prevntion of Genocide, Juan Méndez, on 17 August 2004. At this meeting the need for human rights treaty monitoring bodies to initiate a debate on genocide prevention was highlighted. The committee decided therefore to conduct a thematic discussion on this matter, to which the Special adviser would be invited, with a view (among other things) to identifying indicators of potential genocides.

The committee member leading the thematic discussion is Agha Shahi (Pakistan).

Presentations

The main aim of the discussion is to provide guidance to the committee on how it can best make a contribution to the prevention of genocide within the confines of its mandate. In particular, there will be discussion of indicators, possibly tailored to the articles of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (the implementation of which the committee is tasked with monitoring). There is likely also to be discussion of the committee’s existing early warning mechanism, and possible ways of strengthening this, and how the committee can work together most effectively with the newly appointed Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide.

Participants are urged to consider the mandate of the committee, which is to monitor the extent to which the convention is being implemented in the territories of the states which have ratified it.

Presentations on specific country situations will be welcomed, but please bear in mind that this discussion is not intended to provide solutions to specific situations. Such presentations would be most useful to the committee if lessons are extracted from them as to how the committee might prevent such situations happening in the future. Presentations may also be made on possible examples of good practice with regard to genocide prevention, if these provide useful lessons for the committee.

Participants

Apart from the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, there will be other UN experts present, including the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on Racial Discrimination. There are expected to be a number of government representatives, non-governmental organisations and academic experts present.

How to contribute to the Thematic Discussion?

a. Submission of relevant information in writing

NGOs, with or without Consultative Status with ECOSOC, along with other interested and/or relevant bodies and individuals, are invited to submit relevant information to the Committee.

  • Copies of statements should be submitted to the Secretariat (see below) in hard copy (20 copies) and by e-mail
  • Deadline for submission of written statements for consideration by the committee: 7 February.

These statements will not be read out in the plenary meeting in Geneva but will be read and taken into account by the committee members.

b. Participation in the Thematic Discussion

  • Accreditation: NGOs as well as those affected groups are invited to participate in the first part of the Thematic Discussion, as well as to observe the rest. Those NGOs wishing to participate must send the names of their representatives to the secretariat of CERD (see below) at their earliest convenience, no later than 30 January.
  • Those intending to attend and read out an oral intervention, should provide copies of this in advance by 15 February.

The time allotted for each statement will depend on the number of people attending, but it is foreseen that each presenter will have approximately 10 minutes speaking time.

The person to whom you must submit your statements at the Secretariat of the Committee is:

     Nathalie Prouvez
Secretary, Committee for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights-UNOG
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland
Tel: 00 41 22 917 9309
Fax: 00 41 22 917 9022
Mail: nprouvez@ohchr.org

Procedure for obtaining a badge to allow access to UN buildings in Geneva

You should register your wish to attend the meeting with Joyce Fucio (jfucio@ohchr.org), who will inform you of where you need to go to get the badge which will allow you access to UN buildings. N.B. you should not turn up unannounced at the Palais Wilson, you will not be allowed access.

Further information about CERD and ICERD

More information about the Committee and the Convention, please read the Joint publication of Minority Rights Group International and the International Movement against All Forms of Discirmination and Racism (IMADR): ‘The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination: A Guide for NGOs‘.