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Racial Discrimination and Related Intolerance

We are served refreshment only in separate cups at roadside tea stalls, turned away from public swimming pools, stopped on highways as presumptive criminals, trafficked as prostitutes, denied our mother's nationality, classed willy-nilly as "mentally disabled" in schools, and abducted into slavery.

We are denied housing or burned out of our homes, refused fresh water from village wells, barred from employment or forced to perform degrading labor, and driven out of out of our communities or even our countries by terror.

We face beatings, sexual assault, wrongful arrest, or murder on a daily basis. In lieu of the birthright of equality we are marked from birth with the brand of discriminatory treatment.

These words are the distillation of testimony received by Human Rights Watch that reflect the reality of racism as a global ill. This is the experience of countless millions who are victims of racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance on a daily basis. They include minorities around the world--and some majority populations too, even in the post-apartheid era. They have in common their humanity and the denial of full equality by reason of their birth. They are the victims of the politics of exclusion, stigmatization, and scapegoating--or of targeted neglect and social invisibility.

The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) defines "racial discrimination" broadly and concretely. Adopted in 1965, its definition of racial discrimination includes "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."

The reality of racism does not turn only on the definition of the groups that are oppressed, or on the much disputed concept of race itself, but may be driven largely by the perceptions of the oppressor. Racism blights the lives of groups defined primarily by ethnicity, caste, or an identity shaped by religion. Unlike class or other indicators of social status, these are attributes by which people are instantly identified and which can not readily be shed. Even if the very idea of race is discounted, racism is a very real and deadly phenomenon.

The convention on racial discrimination requires states to guarantee to all individuals the enjoyment of rights without such discrimination--and to ensure that public policies are discriminatory neither in purpose nor in effect. In many countries, the discriminatory effect of public policy, regardless of its intent, serves to lock people away from the exercise of civil and political rights--and by doing so bars their way to the enjoyment of economic, social, and cultural rights.

International action to combat racism has long been on the agenda of the United Nations and regional intergovernmental bodies, as well as the object of campaigning by a vast constellation of nongovernmental organizations. The apartheid regime in South Africa was a focus of much of this international effort, particularly after the dismantling of legal segregation in the United States and the gradual efforts to remedy its consequences. The end of apartheid in 1994 was a landmark in this struggle, but the challenge remained. Just one month before Nelson Mandela's May 9, 1994, election to the South African presidency, Hutu extremists launched a campaign of genocide against the Tutsi minority in Rwanda.

Racism and intolerance in Africa's Great Lakes region and elsewhere persisted in many forms even where the basis of "otherness" itself was clouded. The Hutu-Tutsi divide in Rwanda and neighboring states was itself founded on a blurring over time of social strata into something approximating ethnicity. The so-called "ethnic cleansing" of the former Yugoslavia, in turn, was driven by a racism defined by ethnicity, religion, language, and national origin. In the year 2000, millions faced violence, internal displacement, the arbitrary loss of their nationality, or expulsion from their countries by reason of their descent. Millions more faced pervasive racism that was less apparent to the casual observer--but was in its effect often no less pernicious.

Human Rights Watch in 2000 brought a new focus to the issue of racial discrimination as it affects migrants and refugees and populations identified by caste. The organization's work concentrated on the discriminatory impact of state policy and practice in two areas. These were discrimination in the determination of nationality and citizenship rights, and discrimination in criminal justice and in the public administration of state institutions, services, and resources. These issues are discussed further below.

The World Conference Against Racism

The Third World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance will be held in South Africa from August 31 to September 7, 2001. The conference will be the first forum of its kind since the end of apartheid in South Africa (previous world conferences were held in 1978 and 1983). As such, it can build upon the lessons learned in abolishing the apartheid system, while addressing the racist effect of other policies and practices that continue to afflict whole populations. Its convening reflects both the achievements of the international community and the ongoing challenges it faced in combatting racism. It should celebrate the end of apartheid--but there will be little else to celebrate unless the conference itself catalyzes real introspection by participating governments and real mechanisms for change.

With the end of apartheid, there was some concern that in this third conference the continuing challenge of racism would be portrayed by governments as largely a matter of education, control, and punishment of ordinary people--to confront racism which was in some way inherent, spontaneous, and natural. There seemed a real risk that the international community would focus first on treating racism as a social disease, its vectors of transmission the ordinary citizen, private groups, and unscrupulous Internet service providers. In initial planning sessions, the role of governments and government officials at all levels, from education ministries to community police, in imposing and enforcing policies with racist effect went largely unvoiced. Rather, governments vied to hold themselves up as exemplars in identifying "best practices" in eliminating overt racism from public policy and private practice and in their pedagogic efforts to preach tolerance. The identification and remedying of the racist effect of government policies and practices where racist intent was not clearly present were largely off the agenda.

The preparations for the World Conference were undertaken by governments and civil society alike. Early consultations generated new nongovernmental alliances, bringing together legal reform groups, advocates for migrants and refugees, women's rights activists, faith-based organizations, civil rights activists and human rights groups, veteran campaigners of the anti-apartheid movement, a wide spectrum of minority rights groups, and other grass-roots activists. These nongovernmental organizations have already organized scores of consultative meetings in many countries, while participating in the preparatory meetings, expert seminars, and regional conferences of the United Nations' formal program. The consultative meetings and the expert seminars have already made a significant contribution to the substance of the World Conference and should go some way toward encouraging government representatives to take seriously their responsibilities to combat racism.

The Preparatory Committee for the World Conference identified five broad themes for the provisional agenda of the conference at its first session in May 2000. These were the sources, causes, forms, and contemporary manifestations of racism; the victims; measures of prevention, education and protection; the provision of effective remedies; and strategies to achieve full and effective equality. In some of these areas considerable dissent was registered by powerful governments. Two governments of countries in which caste was the focus of discriminatory treatment--India and Japan--called for the exclusion of descent-based caste discrimination from the deliberations. Despite India's massive lobbying effort toward exclusion of victims of caste discrimination, however, there was an apparent consensus that the conference would be inclusive in its identification of the victims of racism and related intolerance.

The real break in consensus emerged on the matter of remedies. A draft slate of themes prepared by the African Group of delegates had been broadly acceptable, apart from its fourth thematic point, the question of remedies. Dissent turned primarily on the reference to compensation, with former European colonial powers and the United States adamantly opposed to language that implied their acknowledgment of material obligations to remedy past abuses. This was an echo of debates within the United States on the issue of reparations to address the heritage of slavery and segregation, a context that had led the drafters to choose the less politically charged term "compensatory measures." The dissenters may also have reacted negatively to the recommendation of a U.N. expert seminar on the remedies available to victims, held in preparation for the World Conference in February, on the centrality of "reparations": "Victims of racial discrimination are entitled to reparation in its different forms, such as restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition. Monetary and non-monetary forms of reparation are equally important in rendering justice to victims of racial discrimination. Non-monetary forms of reparation include measures such as verification of the facts and their public disclosure; official declarations or judicial decisions that restore dignity and rebuild reputation; acknowledgment of the facts and acceptance of responsibility; and the commemoration and the payment of tribute to the victims."

A late-night compromise placed the word "compensatory" in brackets: "The provision of effective remedies, recourse, redress, [compensatory] and other measures at the national, regional and international level," annotated by a series of explanatory statements from delegates. The Western Group reserved the right to "revisit this point." The African delegates declared their intent to support the inclusion of reference to compensatory measures as founded in general principles of international human rights law establishing the right to restitution, compensation, and rehabilitation for victims of grave violations of human rights.

The agenda of the World Conference will be discussed further at a special inter-sessional meeting to be held in January 2001 and finalized at the second session of the Preparatory Committee to be held in Geneva in May-June 2001. Regional conferences are to be held in Santiago, Chile (the Americas meeting, in December 2000), in Tehran, Iran (the Asia meeting, to include part of the Middle East, in February 2001), in Dakar, Senegal (the Africa meeting, in January 2001). The European regional meeting was held in Strasbourg, France, in October. Expert seminars were held on the protection of minorities and other vulnerable groups (Warsaw, Poland, in July); on migrants and trafficking in persons, with particular reference to women and children (Bangkok, Thailand, in September), and on preventing ethnic and racial conflicts (Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia, in October). In November a seminar on race and gender is to be held in Zagreb, Croatia.

Nationals Without Nationality

In many parts of the world people were denied citizenship and corresponding civil rights in their own countries, or stripped of citizenship, solely because of their race or national descent. In some cases this applied to populations that had been present in a country for generations, often predating their country's independence. In others, children born in their mother's country were denied that nationality because women could not transmit their nationality, rendering the children potentially stateless on gender grounds, or forced to take the nationality of a non-national father.

Denial or removal of the rights of citizenship could be a means comprehensively to deny a population a broad range of human rights. The issue was most dramatic as it concerned children's rights to a nationality and to the full exercise of human rights. Children denied citizenship in their own country were often denied a right to education, to social services, to many areas of employment as they reached adulthood, or even to documents establishing their identity. In some cases, governments informally recognized members of particular national minorities as distinct from foreigners--as in the case of Syria's large Kurdish minority, hundreds of thousands of members of Thailand's hill tribes, or Kuwait's Bidun--while according them a restrictive status short of full recognition as nationals: as if citizens without citizenship. Democratic participation in the regulation of their own community's affairs was impossible for this disenfranchised population. International conventions on statelessness were inadequate to address this denial of citizenship rights on national or racial grounds.

Arbitrary deprivation of citizenship and disputed nationality was both a cause and consequence of forcible displacement of certain populations, and proved to be a significant obstacle in seeking solutions to long-standing refugee situations. In South Asia, for example, more than 100,000 Bhutanese refugees remained in exile, the majority of them in southeast Nepal, after most of them were arbitrarily stripped of their nationality and expelled from Bhutan in the early 1990s. Ten years later, the Bhutanese government continued to block refugee return, claiming that the majority of them were not bona fide Bhutanese citizens and hence enjoyed no right to return.

Naturalization policies, by which non-nationals received citizenship, were often wholly or largely founded on discriminatory grounds. Denial was often the norm even for people with deep roots in a country who retained no connections with any other. In many regions, changing patterns of migration and catastrophic movements of refugees fleeing war or ethnic persecution had long moved large populations in an ebb and flow across national boundaries. Over decades these population movements resulted in large populations putting down new roots in countries to which they were relative newcomers, but who had no other country to which to return. The children of these upheavals were the most vulnerable to discriminatory nationality policies and practices.

In the Middle East, statelessness most frequently stemmed from the deprivation of nationality, often as a result of conflict over the composition of a state and its borders. A situation of citizens without citizenship also derived from the failure to establish nationality at crucial junctures during the process of state formation, or the redefinition of the terms of nationality that sometimes accompanied or followed international armed conflict. The denial of citizenship was exacerbated by the persistence of nationality laws that typically made it difficult for foreigners to gain nationality, even when an individual was born in a country or resident there for many years; prevented women nationals from passing their nationality to their children; and prohibited dual nationality. Taken together, these factors produced large populations whose statelessness was inherited, and often restricted their opportunity to vote, work, register marriage, births, and deaths, own or inherit property, receive government health and educational benefits, or travel.

The problem of statelessness for Palestinian refugees in host countries in the region, Syrian-born Kurds, and Bidun in Kuwait and Bahrain was largely unaddressed or addressed in unsatisfactory ways. In a report published in October 2000, Human Rights Watch criticized Kuwait's treatment of its 120,000 Bidun residents, many of whom have lived in Kuwait for decades or generations and who should be eligible for naturalization but have not been granted it. Since the mid-1980s, they have faced widespread and systematic discrimination, including violations of their right to enter and leave Kuwait, to marry and found a family, and to work. Their children's right to education, to be registered immediately after birth, and to acquire a nationality are also violated. The government of Iraq continued to force Kurds and other minorities out of the Kirkuk region and into the three northern autonomous governorates.

Particular calamities occurred when governments stripped whole ethnic or racial groups of their recognized nationality, most commonly in situations of upheaval or when new states emerged. Ethiopia summarily denationalized and expelled some seventy thousand Ethiopian citizens of Eritrean origin from their country by early 2000, after war broke out with Eritrea. Governments--and opposition groups--also seized upon the denial of citizenship to particular groups to further political aims in the absence of crisis, and in doing so sowed new crises. In the Ivory Coast, ethnic politics became a center-piece of political discourse, the questioning by high officials of who was a "true Ivorian" leading to intercommunal violence. In Cambodia, members of the ethnic Vietnamese minority faced a new wave of repression in November 1999, when authorities charged that some 600 ethnic Vietnamese residents of a floating village were illegal immigrants. The villagers were long-time Cambodian citizens, according to statements to human rights workers, and they said that local authorities confiscated their identity documents before they were forced to flee to a location near the Vietnamese border. Discriminatory nationality and citizenship policies and practices in these circumstances were frequently accompanied by racist violence. (See Cambodia.)

There was some good news. On August 29, the Thai cabinet granted citizenship to the descendants of three groups of displaced persons: Burmese who entered the country prior to March 1976, Nepalese migrants, and Chinese migrants who had migrated to Thailand since the 1960s. Members of other groups, including Thailand's ethnic minority hilltribes however, remained without a nationality or full citizenship rights. Around 300,000 such people registered with the government were permitted to reside and work in the country but faced restrictions on their movement, could not participate in elections, and could not own land. Hundreds of thousands of other hilltribe villagers remained unregistered and were officially considered as illegal immigrants. In a potentially important reform, the Thai government in May 2000 delegated decision-making on the citizenship of hilltribe children born in Thailand to district chiefs. (See Thailand.)

Migrants and Refugees

The preparations for the World Conference come in a climate of increasing xenophobia and racism in many world regions from which governments have not stood aloof. As economic globalization, regional economic crises, and political upheaval have stimulated movement of people across national borders, migrants and refugees in particular have been assailed by new measures of discrimination on an enormous scale. Migration and refugee policies are increasingly driven by xenophobic and racist attitudes. The open expression of racist views by politicians and through the media increasingly threatens the protection of refugees and migrants worldwide, with many governments indicating a greater interest in erecting barriers and keeping people out than in providing protection.

In Western Europe, the weakening of the refugee protection regime has been accompanied by both subtle and blatant forms of racist and xenophobic rhetoric. Asylum seekers and migrants--and by extension members of minorities in general--have been branded as criminals and job usurpers. This scapegoating provided tools for political mobilization by nationalist parties and even by some in the mainstream. The physical and psychological abuse of migrant workers is fueled by this racist rhetoric--and by impunity for such abuse. Women migrant domestic workers who are sexually assaulted are discouraged from seeking legal redress for sexual violence for fear of immediate detention and summary deportation. Racist abuse by private citizens, as the police stand by, is paralleled by a disturbing trend toward racist violence by the police. Some of the countries of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East that have traditionally hosted the vast majority of the world's refugees cited Western European precedents in justifying their adoption of similar restrictions, while mostly continuing to provide generous refuge to the bulk of the world's refugees.

Several U.N. bodies criticized Australia's treatment of refugees--and of its aboriginal minority--in 2000, prompting a harsh rejoinder from that country's government. In the Pacific, ethnic tensions rooted in longstanding social and economic grievances and a perception on the part of indigenous elites of dispossession by migrants or their descendants, led to a coup in Fiji in May and an attempted coup in the Solomon Islands in June.

Trends in human population movements and toward an increasingly international labor force make it particularly urgent to address racism as a factor in the generation of and response to migration and refugee flows, and in its relation to international and domestic conflict. Women migrants and girls suffered in particular, through trafficking and forced prostitution, from their lack of protection in the work place, and in constraints on family life imposed by migration and the specter of statelessness. Xenophobia, often whipped up by political or religious leaders, served to stimulate discriminatory treatment involving ever greater violence.

Foreign workers were violently attacked in Libya, where hundreds of thousands of Africans reportedly migrated over the past several years in search of work. Some fifty Chadian and Sudanese migrants were reported killed in clashes between Africans and Libyans near Tripoli in September. Thousands of other migrant workers reportedly fled the country as a consequence of the attacks.

The movement of refugees, migrants, and victims of trafficking was a major issue in Asia, with protection inevitably requiring intergovernmental cooperation. To combat trafficking of Thai women to Japan, for example, both the Thai and Japanese governments needed to reform legislation and crack down on corruption of police and immigration officials. To protect foreign migrant workers against abuse in Malaysia or Korea, countries exporting labor needed to prosecute illegal labor recruiters while the receiving countries needed to step up investigations and prosecutions of abusive employers.

Racist Impact: Criminal Justice and Public Administration

A key to the fight against discrimination was to monitor public policy which, through state action or inaction, discriminated in effect. To this end Human Rights Watch urged states to introduce transparency in governmental practices and monitor the potentially discriminatory effect of policies and practices on people within their jurisdiction. In addition to obstacles to political participation by citizens, the area of criminal justice had a particular potential for discriminatory effect, and at the national or local level involved practices--like racial profiling, in which one's race was the determining factor in falling under suspicion--with racist intent. Broader areas of public administration, notably the regulation of public health, housing, employment, and education, also required scrutiny, as alternatively constituting gateways or insuperable obstacles to the enjoyment of fundamental rights. The potential for public policies or practices to have unequal and negative consequences for particular groups required particular scrutiny.

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, in its General Recommendation on article 1, paragraph 1 of CERD, concluded that the convention obliges states "to nullify any law or practice which has the effect of creating or perpetuating racial discrimination." (Emphasis added.) As a consequence, it declared that in considering whether differentiation of treatment constituted discrimination, "it will look to see whether that action has an unjustifiable disparate impact upon a group distinguished by race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin." (Emphasis added.) Such policies or practices could be expressly racist, or, while appearing race neutral, reflect a malign neglect, a refusal to take needed actions to secure equal treatment of all racial and ethnic groups. Minorities in Turkey, for example, were statistically invisible as a matter of public policy: the very existence of a Kurdish minority was denied by the state and reporting on the deprivation of this minority's rights is criminally sanctioned.

In many societies, racism was most evident in the area of criminal justice; in the administration of social services, education, and public housing; and even in restrictions of freedom of movement and the right to live in a particular area of one's own country. In the states of the former USSR, control of movement and residence continued to be exercised at the national, provincial, or municipal level. In Russia, the enforcement of these restrictions often assumed ethnic or racial dimensions, while implementation of residency controls through the propiska system of permits served as a pretext for the police harassment, arbitrary arrest, and extortion of people distinguished by their racial characteristics. Moscow police in September 1999 were given carte blanche in the wake of two bombing incidents there to carry out mass arrests of ethnic Chechens living in the city, taking more than twenty thousand Chechens to police stations. Administrative measures kept Chechen children out of school, while adults had trouble finding work, registering marriages, or receiving passports. (See Russia.)

In the United States, racial discrimination in the criminal justice system was increasingly the object of concern--problems the United States went some way to address in submitting its initial report to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in September (as required as a party to CERD). The report, although five years late, frankly acknowledged dramatically disproportionate incarceration rates for minorities in the criminal justice system and cited studies indicating that members of minority groups, especially blacks and Hispanics, "may be disproportionately subject to adverse treatment throughout the criminal justice process." It further acknowledged concerns that "incidents of police brutality seem to target disproportionately individuals belonging to racial or ethnic minorities." The report, however, did not question whether ostensibly race-neutral criminal laws or law enforcement practices causing the incarceration disparities violated CERD, nor did it acknowledge the federal government's obligation, under CERD, to ensure that state criminal justice systems (which account for 90 percent of the incarcerated population) are free of racial discrimination.

Criminal justice policies in the United States permanently stripped many of its nationals of fundamental civil rights in a manner disproportionately affecting minorities. A growing number of citizens were unable to vote because of laws that disenfranchise people convicted of felonies who are in prison, on probation, or on parole--and even, in one quarter of the states, who have finished serving their sentences. An estimated 3.9 million U.S. citizens were disenfranchised, including over one million who had fully completed their sentences. Black Americans were particularly hard hit by disenfranchisement laws: 13 percent of black men--1.4 million--were disenfranchised. In two states, almost one in three black men was unable to vote because of a felony conviction. (See United States.)

Discrimination in criminal justice and public policy was perhaps most pervasive and deep rooted where discrimination was founded on caste, or, as in the United States, where the heritage of slavery and legislated segregation remained potent factors. This sometimes embraced hidden forms of racism that had extraordinary rights-defeating consequences. In India, the emancipation by law of members of castes once known as "untouchables"--and now known as Dalits--failed to eliminate the norms and structures of India's hidden apartheid. De facto segregation continued to be enforced by government authority ranging from the police and lower courts to state and municipal officials. There are more than 160 million Dalits in India and tens of millions of others with similar caste distinctions in other South Asian countries.

The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women raised concerns about the caste system during its February review of India's initial report under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The committee expressed concern over extreme forms of physical and sexual violence against women belonging to particular castes or ethnic or religious groups India. The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child, in turn, concluded in January that the caste system was an obstacle to children's human rights. In Japan, the minority caste known as Burakumin also faced discriminatory treatment, despite the Burakumins' de jure equality. The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination ruled authoritatively in 1996 that the situation of India's scheduled castes, which were based on descent, fell within the scope of the convention. (See India.)

The de facto segregation of the Roma minority in many nations of Eastern Europe became increasingly visible as European political institutions raised ongoing discriminatory treatment there as a major obstacle to European integration. Harassment and violent attacks against Roma were reported in Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, and Slovakia, and expulsion from homes and communities was widely reported. Roma children often lacked access to schools in Croatia, and in the Czech Republic they were disproportionately shunted into classes for the mentally disabled. In Serbia, Croatia, Hungary--and in the European Union in Greece--municipal authorities forced Roma out of their homes. In Bulgaria, residents in a neighborhood of Burgas signed a petition on November 4, 1999, calling for the expulsion of Roma and the demolition of Roma houses; villagers in Mechka made Roma scapegoats for a crime committed in April, refusing to allow Roma in public places and threatening them with expulsion from the town. In Serbia, Roma in Sabac were turned away from a public swimming pool. In Slovakia, the head of the National Labor Office in November 1999 defended the office's policy of marking files of persons regarded as Roma with the letter "R" which he said reflected the "complicated social adaptability" of the group. The denial of nationality to Roma was also an issue in recent years in the Czech and Slovak Republics, but had been addressed by legislative reform.

The Work of Human Rights Watch

The focus of Human Rights Watch in the lead up to the 2001 conference was upon four neglected areas in which the racist effect of government policies and practices vitiated the rights of huge sectors of humanity. They included an emphasis on issues concerning two groups which required particular protection--migrants and refugees, who in their tens of millions were increasingly vulnerable as a consequence of globalization and political upheaval; and the possibly hundreds of millions of individuals who were oppressed by reason of caste. In both cases, a particular emphasis was made on the double discrimination faced by women who were victimized both by reason of their origins and their gender. The focus was also on policies and practices regarding nationality and racial discrimination in criminal justice and public administration.

Human Rights Watch took part in regular briefings of national and international bodies regarding its findings and recommendations regarding situations of racial discrimination. In August, in response to a NGO briefing organized by the International Dalit Solidarity Network--of which Human Rights Watch is a member--the U.N. Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights passed without a vote a resolution on "discrimination on the basis of work and descent." The resolution was aimed at addressing the plight of Dalits.

Human Rights Watch delegates participated in May in the first session of the Preparatory Committee for the World Conference, in Geneva, and took part in the European conference in Strasbourg in October, the first of the five regional conferences to be held. Human Rights Watch had also participated in a series of United States regional meetings of nongovernmental organizations to plan activities around the World Conference. Human Rights Watch presented a paper to the European conference jointly with the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) concerning the human rights of refugees and migrants, in a critique of the draft General Conclusions of the European Conference Against Racism.

Human Rights Watch explored practical measures behind which to mobilize international action to address these issues during and beyond the World Conference, including:

A call to end the deprivation of citizenship on racial and related grounds, including their intersection with gender. International agreements on statelessness should be ratified as a matter of priority; but these standards alone are inadequate to eliminate this widespread and devastating form of discrimination;

A call to develop an international program of action to make caste- or other descent-based segregation, violence, and abuse as intolerable as apartheid;

A call to ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families as a measure of protection against discriminatory treatment; to apply international refugee law to refugees without discrimination; and to improve international monitoring by which to detect and remedy discriminatory treatment of migrants and refugees.

A call for states to systematically collect and report information on law enforcement and the administration of justice, including juvenile justice, as it concerns different population groups, with a view to identifying and remedying any discriminatory purpose or effect;

A call for states to monitor the administration of public affairs in such areas as education, health care, housing, and the enforcement of labor rights, in order to identify and remedy any discriminatory purpose or effect in public policy and programs.

Relevant Human Rights Watch


Bosnia and Hercegovina: Unfinished Business: Return of Displaced Persons and Other Human Rights Issues in Bijeljina, 5/00

Burma/Bangladesh: Burmese Refugees in Bangladesh: Still No Durable Solution, 5/00

Burundi: Neglecting Justice in Making Peace, 4/00

Burundi: Emptying the Hills: Regroupment Camps in Burundi, 7/00

China: Tibet Since 1950: Silence Prison or Exile, 5/00

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Eastern Congo Ravaged: Killing Civilians and Silencing Protest, 5/00

Federal Republic of Yugoslavia/Kosovo: Rape As A Weapon of "Ethnic Cleansing," 3/00

Japan: Owed Justice: Thai Women Trafficked into Debt Bondage in Japan, 9/00

Kuwait: Promises Betrayed: Denial of Rights of Bidun, Women, and Freedom of Expression, 10/00

Malaysia/Burma: Living in Limbo: Burmese Rohingyas in Malaysia, 8/00

Russia/Chechnya: "No Happiness Remains:" Civilian Killings, Pillage, and Rape in Alkhan-yurt, Chechnya, 3/00

Russia/Chechnya: February 5: A Day of Slaughter in Novye Aldi, 6/00

Rwanda: The Search for Security and Human Rights Abuses, 4/00

Turkey: Human Rights and the European Union Accession Partnership, 9/00

United States: Fingers to the Bone:United States Failure to Protect Child Farmworkers, 6/00

United States: No Minor Matter: Children in Maryland's Jails, 11/99

United States: Punishment and Prejudice: Racial Disparities in the War on Drugs, 5/00

Human Rights Watch World Report 2000

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