MINELRES: FIDH Press Release: Discrimination against non-citizens: important decision by a UN body

MINELRES moderator minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Sun Aug 29 18:01:57 2004

Original sender: Daniel Bekoutou <ddekoutou@fidh.org>

International federation for Human Rights - FIDH 
Press Release 

Discrimination against non-citizens : important decision by a UN body

Paris – Geneva, 13 August 2004 - The FIDH welcomes the recent adoption
by the UN Committee on the elimination of racial discrimination (CERD),
of a new general comment regarding discrimination against non-citizens . 

“The adoption by the CERD of this new General Comment is of the utmost
importance at a time where in many states, non-citizens are increasingly
victims of discriminative policies and benefit from differentiated and
more limited rights”, said Sidiki Kaba, President of the FIDH. 

In March 2004, the FIDH presented a report to the CERD concerning the
situation of non-citizens who have been victim of discriminatory
treatments in different countries . In this document, the FIDH raised
serious concern about several situations, such as the discriminatory
practices towards migrant workers in Saudi Arabia, France, Israel or
Costa Rica; the anti-terrorism measures affecting non-citizens in the
USA or the United Kingdom; the practices affecting asylum seekers and
refugees in Lebanon or the UK. 

In that report, the FIDH pointed out that in situations of public
emergency or exception, certain categories of non-citizens are the most
vulnerable and susceptible of human rights violations. In certain
countries, in the framework of the fight against terrorism, judicial and
procedural rights of people of foreign descent are systematically
violated under the pretext of national security. The FIDH report also
highlighted that non-citizens are victims of discrimination in the
sphere of economic and social rights, particularly regarding labor,
education, housing and health. 

The CERD notably recommends that states “ensure that any measures taken
in the fight against terrorism do not discriminate, in purpose or
effect, on the grounds of race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic
origin and that non-citizens are not subjected to racial or ethnic
profiling or stereotyping”...and “Ensure that non-citizens detained or
arrested in the fight against terrorism are properly protected by
domestic law that complies with international human rights, refugee and
humanitarian law”. 

The CERD also asks states to “take action against racially motivated
violence”, to “ensure that conditions in centres for refugees and
asylum-seekers meet international standards,... that non-citizens are
not subject to collective expulsion”... and that they “are not returned
or removed to a country or territory where they are at risk of being
subject to serious human rights abuses”. 

The CERD eventually recommends states to “remove obstacles that prevent
the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights by non-citizens,
notably in the areas of education, housing, employment and health”. 

The FIDH calls upon States to comply with their obligations toward
non-citizens as interpreted by the CERD in this new General Comment and
recommends the Special procedures established by the UN Commission on
Human Rights to take it into consideration when analyzing specific

Contact : 00 33 1 43 55 25 18/14 12 
Daniel Bekoutou 


See: “Thematic Debate: Non-Citizens and Racial Discrimination”, Report
presented by the FIDH to the 64th session of the CERD, February 2004,