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The committee on the elimination of racial discrimination and the conditions for recommending United Nations intervention

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The committee on the elimination of racial discrimination and the conditions for recommending United Nations intervention
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Robertshaw, Amy
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English
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111 leaves : ; 28 cm

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Race discrimination ( lcsh )
Race discrimination ( fast )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 105-111).
General Note:
Department of Political Science
Statement of Responsibility:
by Amy Robertshaw.

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Full Text
THE COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
AND THE CONDITIONS FOR RECOMMENDING UNITED NATIONS
INTERVENTION
by
Amy Robertshaw
B.A., University of Minnesota, 1997
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
Political Science
2002
At


This thesis for the Master of Arts
degree by
Amy Robertshaw
has been approved
by
Date


Robertshaw, Amy (M.A., Political Science)
The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the Conditions for
Recommending United Nations Intervention
Thesis directed by Professor Lucy McGuffey
ABSTRACT
With conflicts and wars continuously occurring around the world, the
question arises whether or not States or international organizations should intervene
to create or maintain peace. Many experts disagree on this matter, some stating
there is a moral obligation to intervene if crimes against humanity are occurring,
while others insist that a States sovereignty is paramount. One committee within
the United Nations that is able to recommend humanitarian intervention to the
Security Council is the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Despite numerous rules and regulations regarding the obligations of this Committee,
none of the standards specifically address the situations in which the Committee will
recommend an intervention. Based on this study, there will be a clearer picture
regarding when the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination may
insist that the United Nations should intervene in a country with a peacekeeping
operation and why the Committees recommendations to the Security Council may
differ from country to country.
Case analyses of Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, Guatemala, and
the Democratic of the Congo reveal several factors that may be considered in the
Committees decision-making process: the number of fatalities that result from the
war, the extent that the war was clearly based on racial discrimination, and the
degree the livelihood of the people is threatened because of racial discrimination.
Instead of proving solely that a large number of deaths related to racial
in


cause the Committee to recommend intervention, as indicated in my hypothesis, the
three criteria listed above combined support a possible conclusion to why the
Committee advocated United Nations intervention in the Democratic Republic of
the Congo and not in the other three cases.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I
recommend its publication.
Signed
IV


CONTENTS
Tables...................................................vii
CHAPTER
1. AN OVERVIEW.................................................1
2. SIERRA LEONE...............................................26
Histoiy of Conflict..................................26
Response by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination.......................................32
Analysis.............................................34
3. CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC...................................38
Histoiy of Conflict..................................38
Response by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination.......................................44
Analysis.............................................47
4. GUATEMALA..................................................52
History of Conflict..................................52
Response by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination.......................................61
Analysis.............................................66
5. DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO...........................70
v


History of Conflict
70
Response by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination.........................................75
Analysis............................................. 80
6. Conclusions .................................................83
APPENDIX
A. Current Members of the Committee on the Elimination
of Racial Discrimination.....................................98
B. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination Country Ratification Status...................99
BIBLIOGRAPHY.......................................................105
vi


TABLES
Table
1.1 Current Peacekeeping Operations...................................14
1.2 Completed Peacekeeping Operations.................................16
Vll


CHAPTER 1
AN OVERVIEW
Because the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is able
to make recommendations to the United Nations General Assembly to ensure the
prevention and elimination of racial discrimination, the purpose of this study is to
examine which cases the Committee will recommend intervention by the United
Nations on the basis of racial discrimination. By examining several cases in which
the Committee has been concerned about racial inequality, I hypothesize that the
Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination will only suggest
humanitarian intervention in cases where a large number of people, such as tens of
thousands, are killed in ethnic conflict. Consequently, because of this study, a better
understanding will be gained regarding the factors that lead the Committee to
recommend United Nations intervention.
With conflicts and wars continuously occurring around the world, the
question arises whether or not states or international organizations should intervene
to create or maintain peace. Many experts disagree on this matter, some stating
there is a moral obligation to intervene if crimes against humanity are occurring,
while others insist that a states sovereignty is paramount. Disregarding state
sovereignty in order to create peace and save lives may leave many people and
1


governments angry about the violation of their autonomy. Hoffman defines
sovereignty as the independence from any outside authority. The corollaries of this
principle are the norm of the equality of rights from the states and the norm of
nonintervention in a states domestic affairs (12). Intervention by an external
organization for the sake of protecting citizens, who are in perceived or actual
danger, may not be welcome. Teson, on the other hand, rejects theories that protect
state sovereignty solely and believes that there is a duty to intervene when human
rights are being violated. The thrust of the argument is that governments and states
exist to protect us, to protect our rights against internal and external deprivations.
When governments fail to do that, they are no longer morally or legally justified
(Teson 316). When a state has reached this point, Teson believes the international
community has an obligation to become involved to protect the rights of the victims.
Therefore, the status and extent of state sovereignty is a continuing source of
international debate.
One commonality among many theorists is that clear objectives and criteria
for international intervention are required. Although experts have differing ideas
regarding the goals and conditions of humanitarian intervention, each agrees that
intervention criteria need elaboration. OHanlon argues, a discriminating approach
to becoming involved is absolutely essential (3). He claims that because there are
a large number of conflicts occurring around the world, a system of prioritization
must be created. Ruggies argument, similar to OHanlons premise, states that
2


because no precise formulation of the specific strategic requirements of robust
peace operations has ever been devised, .. .a more systematic doctrinal approach
toward such operations is needed (1). In other words, if intervention is to occur, a
set of guidelines for the operation needs to exist. In addition, McCoubrey and
Morris assert that whether the structural basis of an operation is a large or a small
military operation, a force requires clarity of direction both as to its objectives and
as to its chain of command and responsibility at both strategic and tactical levels
(41). Teson alternatively contends, a justified intervention must be genuinely
aimed at restoring human rights, necessary, proportionate to the evil that is designed
to suppress, and welcomed by the victims of oppression (315). In other words, if it
is established that human rights is the objective of the intervention and it has been
affirmed that the nations people want it, an operation is justifiable.
Additionally, Michael OHanlon offers an example of inadequate criteria for
an intervention. He states that the decisions by United States officials about where
to participate in selective humanitarian interventions will... be based on factors like
a countrys proximity to the United States and the degree of linkage between its
ethnic groups and key American voting blocs (OHanlon 4-5). OHanlon believes
these reasons are insufficient because where suffering is extreme or threatens to
become so, decisions about intervention should also be based on the prospects for
relieving that suffering in a relatively low cost and durable way (5). Therefore, it
3


is not enough simply to consider the benefits for the country that intervenes; when
creating an operation the interests of the beneficiaries must be taken into account.
Along with determining the purpose or the criteria for an intervention, other
theorists also consider the issue of accountability. For example Harass maintains,
humanitarian action should be accountable to those who are its subjects, or
beneficiaries (14). Furthering Harriss argument, Griffiths, Levine, and Weller
offer suggestions for making this type of intervention accountable by determining
who should be held responsible, empowering the beneficiaries, examining the
medias role, and setting up systems to monitor and evaluate the operation. These
authors claim there are three major groups to account to in humanitarian
operations: the victims, the host government and the donors who fund the
programmes (Griffiths, Levine, Weller 79). By being accountable to these groups,
the decision makers will be more aware of the intended or unintended consequences
of their operations. In addition, Griffiths, Levine, and Weller argue, all
humanitarian programmes should be externally evaluated by independent experts
with the results widely disseminated however embarrassing for the agencies and
individuals concerned. .. .We also recommend that evaluations should consult
beneficiaries and, even more importantly, those who did not, but should have
benefited from the operation (80). Therefore, it is not enough to claim the system
of humanitarian intervention helps those in need; more procedures for evaluating the
accountability of an operation are required.
4


While this debate surrounding humanitarian intervention has been occurring,
an international organization, the United Nations, has performed 54 peacekeeping
interventions. In the 57 years since the United Nations was created, it has become
an institution that helps to define international relations. Its purpose is to maintain
international peace and security, to develop friendly relations among nations, to
cooperate in solving international problems and in promoting respect for human
rights, and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations (United Nations,
UN in Brief 1). Although it does not claim to be a world government, the United
Nations appendages and actions are far reaching.
The United Nations strives to promote peace and justice throughout the
world by creating charters and treaties that are supported by states. An example of a
treaty developed by the United Nations to encourage equal rights is the International
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Available
for endorsement on December 21, 1965, this document was created to bring
attention to states across the world the need to prevent and eradicate racial
discrimination in all of its forms. Specifically by signing this treaty, state parties
agree, among other requirements, to the following fundamental obligations:
(a) Each State Party undertakes to engage in no act or practice of racial
discrimination against persons, groups of persons or institutions and to
ensure that all public authorities and public institutions, national and
local, shall act in conformity with this obligation;
(b) Each State Party undertakes not to sponsor, defend or support racial
5


discrimination by any persons or organizations;
(c) 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;
(d) 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;
(e) 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 (International Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination 3).
The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination is one of the key instruments of the international community in the
legal protection and promotion of human rights (OFlaherty, Substantive 162).
To increase the publics understanding of this document and the states obligations,
several researchers have interpreted the articles of the Convention. Natan Lemer
states that one aim in his book The U.N. Convention on the Elimination of all Forms
of Racial Discrimination is merely to give the general public an opportunity to
know the contents of the Convention (ix). As a result, he provides an explanation
of the development of the Convention, the meanings of Articles one through seven,
the measures of implementation, and the system of reservations. Comparable to
Lemers approach, Michael OFlaherty claims, an understanding of the work of
CERD is essential if one is to have a full grasp of the contents of the various
6


substantive provisions of the Convention (Substantive 163). He explains in
detail the first seven articles of the Convention along with descriptions of how
specific articles have been misinterpreted or have needed clarification.
Additionally, several publications by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination, such as Teaching, Education, Culture and Information as Means of
Eliminating Racial Discrimination and Positive Measures Designed to Eradicate
All Incitement to, or Acts of, Racial Discrimination, include interpretations and
obligations of states under Articles 7 and 4, respectively.
In order to oversee each states approach to eliminating racism, Article 8 of
the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination established the
Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This Committee was the
first body created by the United Nations to monitor and review actions by States to
fulfill their obligations under a specific human rights agreement (Fact Sheet No.
12, The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 3). The
Committee is compromised of eighteen people from around the world. State parties
nominate a delegate from their own country and submit this nomination to the
Secretary-General at the United Nations. After the Secretary-General has received
all the submissions, he or she then sends all of the names back to each state that
nominated a potential Committee member. The states then vote, giving
consideration to equitable geographical distribution and to the representation of the
different forms of civilization as well as of the principal legal systems
7


(International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination 7). Those nominees who receive the highest number of votes will
be elected to the Committee and will serve a four-year term.
To monitor the states progress and compliance, the International
Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination declares that each state
must submit a report to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
one year after the state has ratified or acceded to the Convention, and every two
years following the initial report. Regardless of whether or not the state believes
racial discrimination is occurring in its country, the state must submit a report
addressing the countrys implementation of the Convention. In this submission,
state parties must address how they have executed the Convention, the actual and
potential forms of racial discrimination occurring in the country, and how the
officials and organizations within the country are working to prevent racial
discrimination.
The Committee meets twice a year for a period of three weeks each session
to review country reports, outstanding cases, and to make recommendations or
suggestions to the state party and, or, the General Assembly. The Committee
shall report annually, through the Secretary General, to the General
Assembly of the United Nations on its activities and may make suggestions
and general recommendations based on the examination of the reports and
information received from the State Parties. Such suggestions and general
recommendations shall be reported to the General Assembly together with
comments, if any, from States Parties (International Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination 8).
8


Such rules and procedures are explained in the United Nations manual of
the Rules of procedure of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination. In addition, several researchers have also written about the
procedures of this Committee. For example, Natan Lemer provides a condensed
version of this manual offering an overall description of the Committee, elections,
membership, meetings, and the state reporting system. Michael OFlaherty, on the
other hand, more specifically discusses the reporting procedures in The Committee
on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination: non-governmental input and the early
warning and urgent procedure.
In addition to the article described above, Michael OFlaherty has written
articles describing and critiquing various individual Committee procedures. For
example, in the piece, The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination as an implementation agency, OFlaherty hints at the problems that
could arise from the Early Warning and Urgent procedure. In 1993, the Committee
developed a procedure whereby it examines the situation in State parties in
circumstances where it considers that there is a particular cause for concern
on the basis of actual or potential circumstances. The procedure has two
defining elements: (a) it is not dependent on the state having submitted a
report for consideration, and (b) there are as yet no relevant rules of
procedure and matters are dealt with on an ad hoc basis (OFlaherty, The
UN Committee 219).
When a situation occurs where there is specific cause for concern because of
actual or possible racial discrimination, the Committee will place the item on the
9


agenda. After discussion by the Committee members and possibly the state
representative, the Committee may proceed with one of the following actions.
Among the outcomes of consideration by the Committee have been formal
decisions expressing the views of the Committee and usually requesting the
immediate submission by the State of a report, the bringing of particular
situations to the attention of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and,
or, the Secretary-General, and to the General Assembly and the Security
Council, and the undertaking, with the consent of the Governments
concerned, of missions to the territory concerned (OFlaherty, The UN
Committee 220).
After the recommendation has been made to the appropriate party, the state will
remain under scrutiny by the Committee for an indefinite period of time.
OFlaherty makes several recommendations regarding the early warning and
urgent procedure. First, he proposes it might be appropriate for the Committee, as
a guide for future action, to precisely identify the unique role which it might play in
informing the work practices of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General
(OFlaherty, The UN Committee 220). In other words, the Committee needs to
define the specific circumstances in which it will recommend that a state be
considered by the High Commissioner or the Secretary-General and the specific acts
of racial discrimination that would make the Committee have cause for concern.
Second, OFlaherty argues that there is a somewhat erratic application of the
procedure in the absence of irrelevant standing rules (The UN Committee 221).
He claims that there has been some uncertainty among state parties and other
officials regarding whether reports were being submitted because of the
10


Committees declaration of an urgent procedure or as a general submission.
Furthermore, OFlaherty believes that the standards of the Early Warning and
Urgent procedure, which is a precursor to recommending intervention, need to be
clarified.
In addition to OFlahertys suggestion of potential problems the Committee
may encounter, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has
noted the challenges it faces with the implementation of the Convention. The
Committee has been handicapped throughout its existence by its not receiving all
the information on the basis of which it is called upon to exercise its functions
(CERD, Progress 23). States continually fail to submit reports in a timely fashion,
to include the information required in reports, and fail to either resubmit reports
after the Committee has requested additional information or provide belated
resubmissions. In addition, the Committee has questioned the authenticity of the
information, speculating if the states have presented a report that truly reflects the
reality of the countrys situation (CERD, Teaching 17).- Consequently, the
Committee feels that its ability to perform its tasks of expressing opinions and
making recommendations based on its consideration of such [inadequate]
information is gravely diminished (CERD, Progress 23). Therefore, the ability
of the Committee to perform adequately its designated functions has been
decreased.
11


Another challenge faced by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination, in addition to striving to respect state sovereignty, is in regards to
how the international community views the Committee. In the publication The
Progress Made Towards the Achievement of the Objectives of the International
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the
Committee stated,
members of the Committee have constantly bom in mind that the manner in
which the Committee acquits itself in the performance of its tasks might
influence not only the effective functioning of the system of international
accounting and review built into the Convention but also the degree of
universality the Convention might attainby encouraging other States to
ratify or accede to the Convention or discouraging them to do so (23).
By expressing this statement, it seems as if the Committee is cautious in its
responses and possibly even hindered in its abilities. If it acts too harsh and
enforces the Convention too severely, fewer state parties will desire to be a part of
the Convention. Or, according to the Committee, if its actions are determined to be
too negative, the United Nations may be less apt to establish a similar committee.
Despite the Committees critique of itself, the explanations of the articles of
the Convention, and the descriptions of the Committees rules and procedures by
various researchers, there were not any authors, according to my literature review,
who directly described the situations in which the Committee on the Elimination of
Racial Discrimination will recommend intervention by the United Nations.
Although OFlaherty commented that the use of the Early Warning and Urgent
12


procedure has been inconsistent, none of the researchers attempted to determine
why the Committee recommended intervention in some countries where racial
discrimination was occurring, but did not suggest it in others. Although researchers
commented that reactions by the Committee to discrimination were inconsistent,
none of the investigators examined specific country cases and the Committees
responses to determine patterns that lead to the Committees recommendation of
United Nations intervention. As a result of this gap in the literature, the potential
value of this thesis will be much greater. Based on this study, there will be a clearer
picture regarding the factors that lead the Committee to urge intervention in a
specific country. Consequently, why the Committees recommendations may differ
from country to country, especially when the countries being considered by the
Committee are all guilty of racial discrimination will be less ambiguous.
The primary method of research in this paper will be an analysis of historical
case studies. Because the United Nations has initiated 54 peacekeeping operations
since 1948, the first task will be to narrow the study to determine which countries
will be considered. The following information needs to be defined: the country or
area in which the United Nations intervened with a current or completed
peacekeeping operation, the dates of the operation, when the country entered the
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) into
force, if the country entered the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Racial Discrimination through ratification, accession, or succession, and lastly, if
13


the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination was
adopted by the country before the beginning of the peacekeeping operation. The
following chart, table 1.1, will illustrate this information.
Table 1.1
Current Peacekeeping Operations
Country
Name of
Peacekeeping
Dates
Of
CERD: Entry
into Force
Date
CERD
Ratification/
Accession/
Succession/
No Action
CERD
adopted
before
Africa
Democratic Republic of the Congo United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) 12/1999- present 5/21/1976 Accession Yes
Ethiopia and Eritrea United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) 7/2000- present 7/23/1976 Accession No Action Yes No
Sierra Leone United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) 10/1999- present 1/4/1969 Ratification Yes
Western Sahara United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) 4/1991- present Not applicable* Not Applicable* Not Applicable*
Asia
East Timor United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) 10/1999- present Unknown** Unknown** Unknown**
14


Table 1.1 Current Peacekeeping Operations (Continued)
CERD
Country Name of Peacekeeping Operation Dates Of Operation CERD: Entry into Force Date Ratification/ Accession/ Succession/ No Action CERD adopted before operation?
India- United Nations 1/1949- 1/4/1969 Ratification No
Pakistan Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) present 1/4/1969 Ratification No
Europe
Bosnia/ Herzegovina United Nations Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) 12/1995- present 7/16/1993 Succession Yes
Kosovo United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) 6/1999- present Unknown** Unknown** Unknown**
Croatia United Nations Mission of Observers in Prevlaka (UNMOP) 1/1996- present 10/8/1991 Succession Yes
Cyprus United Nations Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) 3/1964- present 1/4/1969 Ratification No
Georgia United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) 8/1993- present 7/2/1999 Accession No
Middle East
Golan United Nations 6/1974- Not Not Not
Heights Disengagement Force (UNDOF) present Applicable* Applicable* Appbcable*
15


Table 1.1 Current Peacekeeping Operations (Continued)
Country
Name of
Peacekeeping
Dates
Of
CERD: Entry
into Force
Date
CERD
Ratification/
Accession/
Succession/
No Action
CERD
adopted
before
Iraq/Kuwait United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observer Mission (UNIKOM) 4/1991- present 2/13/1970 1/4/1969 Ratification Accession Yes Yes
Lebanon United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) 3/1978- present 12/12/1971 Accession Yes
Middle East United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) 6/1948- present Not Applicable* Not Applicable* Not Applicable*
Table 1.2
Completed Peacekeeping Operations
CERD:
Ratification/
Name of Dates CERD: Entry Accession/ CERD
Peacekeeping Of into Force Succession/ adopted before
Country Operation Operation Date No Action operation?
Africa
Angola United Nations 12/1988- No Action
Angola Verification 5/1991 5/1991-
Mission I, II, III 2/1995
(UNAVEMI, II, III) 2/1995- 6/1997 6/1997-
United Nations Observer Mission 2/1999
in Angola (MONUA)
Central United Nations 4/1998- 4/15/1971 Ratification Yes
African Mission in the 2/2000
Republic Central African
Republic (MINURCA)
16


Table 1.2 Completed Peacekeeping Operations (Continued)
Name of
Peacekeeping
Dates
Of
CERD: Entry
into Force
CERD
Ratification/
Accession/
Succession/
CERD
adopted
before
Chad/Libya United Nations Aouzou Strip Observer Group (UNASOG) 5/1994- 6/1994 9/16/1977 Unknown** Accession Unknown** Yes Unknown**
Congo United Nations Operation in the Congo (ONUC) 7/1960- 6/1964 5/21/1976 Accession No
Liberia United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia (UNOMIL) 9/1993- 9/1997 5/12/1976 Accession Yes
Mozambique United Nations Operation in Mozambique (ONUMOZ) 12/1992- 12/1994 5/18/1983 Accession Yes
Namibia United Nations Transitions Assistance Group (UNTAG) 4/1989- 3/1990 12/11/1982 Accession Yes
Rwanda United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) 10/1993- 3/1996 5/16/1975 Accession Yes
Rwanda/ Uganda United Nations Observer Mission Rwanda/Uganda (UNOMUR) 6/1993- 9/1994 5/16/1975 12/21/1980 Accession Accession Yes Yes
Sierra Leone United Nations Observer Mission in Sierra Leone (UNOMSIL) 7/1998- 10/1999 1/4/1969 Ratification Yes
Somalia United Nations Operation in Somalia I, II (UNOSOMI, II) 4/1992- 3/1993 3/1993- 3/1995 9/25/1975 Ratification Yes
Americas
Central America United Nations Observer Group in Central America (ONUCA) 11/1989- 1/1992 > Not Applicable* Not Applicable* Not Applicable*
17


Table 1.2 Completed Peacekeeping Operations (Continued)
Country
Name of
Peacekeeping
Dates
Of
CERD: Entry
into Force
Date
CERD
Ratification/
Accession/
Succession/
No Action
CERD
adopted
before
Dominican Republic Mission of the Special Representative of the Secretary- General in the Dominican Republic (DOMREP) 5/1965- 10/1966 6/24/1983 Accession Yes
El Salvador United Nations Observer Mission in El Salvador (ONUSAL) 7/1991- 4/1995 12/30/1979 Accession Yes
Guatemala United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA) 1/1997- 5/1997 2/17/1983 Ratification Yes
Haiti United Nations Mission In Haiti (UNMIH) United Nations Support Mission in Haiti (UNSMIH) United Nations Transition Mission in Haiti (UNTMIH) United Nations Civilian Police Mission in Haiti (MIPONUH) 9/1993- 6/1996 7/1996- 7/1997 8/1997- 11/1997 12/1997- 3/2000 1/18/1973 Ratification Yes
Asia
Afghanistan/ Pakistan United Nations Good Offices Mission in Afghanistan/Pakist an (UNGOMAP) 5/1988- 3/1990 8/5/1983 Accession Yes
18


Table 1.2 Completed Peacekeeping Operations (Continued)
CERD
Country Name of Peacekeeping Operation Dates Of Operation CERD: Entry into Force Date Ratification/ Accession/ Succession/ No Action CERD adopted before operation?
Cambodia United Nations Advance Mission in Cambodia (UNAMIC) United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) 10/1991- 3/1992 3/1992- 9/1993 12/28/1986 Ratification Yes
India/ United Nations 9/1965- 1/4/1969 Ratification No
Pakistan India/Pakistan Observer Mission (UNIPOM) 3/1966 1/4/1969 Ratification No
Tajikistan United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT) 12/1994- 5/200 2/10/1995 Accession Yes
West New Guinea United Nations Security Force in West New Guinea (UNSF) 10/1962- 4/1963 Unknown** Unknown** Unknown**
Croatia United Nations Confidence Restoration Operation (UNCRO) United Nations Transitional Authority in Eastern Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Sirmium (UNTAES) United Nations Civilian Police Support Group (UNPSG) 3/1995- 1/1996 1/1996- 1/1998 1/1998- 10/1998 10/8/1991 Succession Yes
Former Yugoslavia United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) 2/1992- 3/1995 1/4/1969 Succession Yes
19


Table 1.2 Completed Peacekeeping Operations (Continued)
Country
Name of
Peacekeeping
Dates
Of
CERD: Entry
into Force
Date
CERD
Ratification/
Accession/
Succession/
No Action
CERD
adopted
before
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia United Nations Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP) 3/1995- 2/1999 Unknown** Unknown** Unknown**
Middle East
Iran/Iraq United Nations Iran-Iraq Military 8/1988- 2/1991 1/4/1969 2/13/1970 Ratification Ratification Yes Yes
Middle East First United Nations Emergency Force I, II (UNEFI, II) 11/1956- 6/1967 10/1973- 7/1979 Not Applicable* Not Applicable* Not Applicable*
Yemen United Nations Yemen Observation Mission (UNYOM) 7/1963- 9/1964 11/17/1972 Accession No
*For the purpose of this study, United Nations peacekeeping operations that were
not specific to one country were listed as not applicable under the sections related
to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
**Items listed as unknown were classified in this manner if the country was not
listed in the United Nations Treaty Body Database. In this Database, all countries
are listed who have taken action on at least one United Nations treaty.
Based on the data gathered above, the following criteria will be used to focus
this case study:
1. The peacekeeping operation must be specific to a country, rather than a
part of the world. There are several reasons to limit the study in this
manner. First, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial
20


Discrimination generally focuses on one country in its reports, rather
than a whole region. Second, when a country agrees to endorse the
Convention, it is one country making this decision, as opposed to a group
of countries all agreeing that each one will ratify or accede to the
Convention.
2. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination must have been ratified or accessioned before the starting
date of the original peacekeeping operation. By establishing this
criterion, the Committee will have had an opportunity to review the
situation of racial discrimination within the country and determine
whether or not to recommended intervention.
3. A country must have ratified or acceded to the Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, rather than become a
party through succession. When a state enters a treaty through
ratification or accession, it is formally agreeing to the obligations stated
in the contract. However, when a state becomes a part of the Convention
through succession, the state has accepted the obligations that were set
forth by the former state. Therefore, in this study, the state must agree to
its responsibilities by its own will, rather than have its obligations
handed down by the states former leaders.
21


4. The beginning of the operation must have begun in 1996 or after.
(Reason addressed in Potential Problem section at the end of this
chapter.)
After applying the guidelines listed above to the 54 United Nations
peacekeeping operations, four countries are eligible for further analysis. These
countries include the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo,
Guatemala, and Sierra Leone. After the initial information has been reduced, the
primary method of research will be analyzing case studies. Each country will show
a different reaction by the Committee to racial discrimination, demonstrating the
various abilities of the Committee.
During the investigation of each case, the history of the countrys conflict
will be described along with how racial discrimination contributed to the conflict.
Then, why the United Nations intervened with a peacekeeping operation will be
examined. Next, how the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
viewed the countrys situation will be analyzed in addition to how the articles of the
Convention contributed to the Committees decisions. After the response by the
Committee is summarized, I will analyze the Committees reaction to racial
discrimination in the country. Specifically, I will examine the following aspects of
each case to determine why the Committee did or did not recommend intervention
on the basis of racial discrimination:
22


1. The length of the conflict.
2. The number of fatalities that resulted from the struggle.
3. The extent that the war was clearly based on racial discrimination, and
not a political or economic cause for example.
4. The degree the livelihood of the people, for instance their political,
social, or economic well-being, was threatened because of racial
discrimination.
5. The status of country reports submitted. For example, did the absence of
country reports prevent the Committee from having the knowledge of
racial discrimination occurring in the country and, therefore, intervention
was not recommended?
After applying each criterion to Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, Guatemala,
and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, these five factors will be used in the
final chapter to determine why the Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination recommended intervention in some cases and not others. These five
subjects will be applied to each case to understand why the Committees response
varies so greatly from country to country.
I realize that the areas of focus listed above do not exhaust the possible
explanations why the Committees decisions may vary. Other potential reasons
could include the special interests of members who were involved in the Committee
at the time that decisions were made or state party interests in a particular country
23


and how they impacted the Committees decisions. However, this paper will be
valuable as a preliminary study to determining how the five factors listed above
impact the decisions of the Committee. It will also prove or disprove the hypothesis
that a large amount of fatalities must occur in order for the Committee to
recommend United Nations intervention. Therefore, although further research
would be beneficial, this study will narrow the possible factors involved in the
Committees decisions through a case study analysis.
In the last chapter, I will examine the similarities and differences between
the countries to draw conclusions regarding the situations in which the Committee
on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination will recommend intervention by the
United Nations. At that point, my hypothesis stating that the Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination will only recommend humanitarian
intervention in cases where a large number of people, such as tens of thousands, are
dying because of an ethnically based conflict will be confirmed or invalidated.
Additionally, recommendations to the Committee and for further research will be
made.
As I begin my thesis, I can foresee two major obstacles with this research
project. First, meeting minutes, decisions, and other commentary from the
Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination are not available on the
United Nations Website, my primary source of information about this Committee,
before 1996. When trying to find alternative resources for Committee meeting
24


minutes, such as area libraries, I found that the libraries only carry information that
pertains to the United States and the Committee or summaries from meetings spread
decades apart from each other. Therefore, I have had to limit my research study to
include United Nations peacekeeping operations that begin in 1996 or thereafter.
By doing so, I am still able to examine whether or not the Committee recommended
that an intervention occur because meeting minutes will be available before the
peacekeeping operation began.
Second, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has
declared that Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish shall be the official
languages and English, French, Russian and Spanish the working languages of the
Committee (Rules of Procedure of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination 6). Asa result, all of the original Committee meeting documents
are written in one of these four languages. Unfortunately, I cannot read French,
Russian, or Spanish fluently, which reduces the amount of documents that are
available to me. However, through my preliminary research, I believe there will be
a sufficient amount of documents that have been translated into English that will
allow me to draw conclusions regarding the patterns in which the Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination will recommend a United Nations
intervention.
25


CHAPTER 2
SIERRA LEONE
Sierra Leone was ravaged by a civil war for over seven years. Because of a
perceived illegitimate government, rebel forces stormed the country, kidnapping,
dismembering, and killing men, women, and children. However, the Committee on
the Elimination of Racial Discrimination gave little attention to this political conflict
and how the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
was being implemented within Sierra Leone. Instead, meetings focused on the
failure of the country to submit its periodic reports. Nevertheless, while the lack of
reports was discussed, racial discrimination persisted.
History of Conflict
In March of 1991, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) entered eastern
Sierra Leone through Liberia in an effort to overthrow Sierra Leones government.
Believing Sierra Leones current government was unjust, the RUF called for a
democratic revolution to overthrow the All Peoples Congress, a one-party regime
led by Major General Joseph Saidu Momeh. Because poverty, illiteracy, and lack of
health care devastated the people of Sierra Leone, the RUF fought for the end of a
corrupt regime that left the citizens of Sierra Leone in such despair. The RUF
26


believed that in a land filled with natural resources, there was no need for such
difference between the rich and the poor. In their eyes, the government was to
blame.
However, the terror that resulted from this group overshadowed its initial
goals. The RUF named its campaign Operation No Living Thing
(Reconstructing Sierra Leone 3). Anything in the way of the Revolutionary
United Front would be killed or tortured. The rebels do not discriminate. All
women, men, young, old and infirmhave been subjected to barbaric treatment
(Sierra Leone: Prospects for Peace and Stability 47). It is not uncommon to read
stories of civilians who were tortured by the RUF. People had their hands, arms,
tongues, ears, and heads severed by this group. Because the initial group of
militants who stormed the country was small, the RUF would kidnap people, many
of whom were children, to serve in its army. By threatening them and injecting
them with drugs, such as cocaine, the RUF would increase its force. By the time the
rebel forces were driven out almost eight years later,
according to U.N. and health officials estimates, between 5,000 and 6,500
combatants and civilian residents were killed in or near the capital.. .Rebel
forces abducted additional thousands of person, mostly women and children,
during their retreat; the insurgents wounded or maimed hundreds of others.
Large sections of central and eastern Freetown were destroyed and tens of
thousands were left homeless (Oleynik 132).
After the initial attack, Sierra Leones army along with the Military Observer
Group (ECOMOG) from the Economic Community of West African States
27


(ECOWAS) tried to stop the assault by the RUF, but both groups were unsuccessful.
Even though Sierra Leones army tried at first to defend the government...the
following year, the army itself overthrew the government (Sierra Leone-
UNOMSIL Background 1). Therefore, although in the previous year the Sierra
Leone army tried to defend the country against the Revolutionary United Front, the
next year the army joined the RUFs forces. Although there was an attempt to form
a new party called the United Front of Political Movements, comprised of six
political parties, the armys overthrow of the government, which led to the fleeing
of the president of Sierra Leone, helped the RUF continue to terrorize the country.
After three years of conflict, in November 1994, Sierra Leones Head of
State wrote a letter to the United Nations Secretary-General asking for aid in the
negotiations between the government and the RUF. Approximately one month later
a group of people representing the Secretary-General was sent to observe the
countrys situation. This mission noted the serious deterioration of the situation in
the country as a result of the three-year conflict. About 10 per cent of the
population in Sierra Leone was refugees in neighbouring countries and at least 30
percent were internally displaced. Vital infrastructure had been destroyed and three
quarters of the national budget was spent on defense (Sierra Leone-UNOMSIL
Background 1). Despite peace negotiations between the government and the RUF,
the fighting continued.
28


Because of Sierra Leones decline noted by the special mission, in February
of 1995, the UN Secretary-General appointed a special envoy to assist in the
negotiation process to help end the conflict. In addition, the Organization of
African Unity (OAU) sent peace missions to the country to urge the government to
continue the efforts for peace. Two new groups also became involved in the civil
war, the National Association for the Restoration of Democracy (NAFORD) and
Sierra Leoneans Search for Peace (SLIP). Both of these organizations joined Sierra
Leones government to fight the Revolutionary United Front.
International pressure and several protests by Sierra Leones citizens
regarding the lack of available food, led to a new election held on March 15, 1996.
Dr. Alhaji Amad Tejan Kabbah from the Peoples Party was elected, winning
slightly over half of the countrys votes. Although the army agreed to return power
to the new government, the Revolutionary United Front chose not to take part in the
elections. With this decision, the RUF refused to recognize the new president and
continued the war.
Nine months after the election, President Kabbah negotiated a peace
settlement with the Revolutionary United Front, called the Abidjan Accord.
Through the Accord, both parties agreed that the fighting would stop and the RUF
would be disarmed. This agreement also called for electoral, judicial and police
reform, probity in government, protection for human rights, and a focus on rural
areas and the urban poor in reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts (Gberie 9).
29


This rebuilding of the community and peoples lives included increasing access to
food, clean water, health care, and education.
However, in May of 1997, another coup ended the possibility of long-term
peace. A group of junior military officers, who styled themselves the Armed
Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), overthrew the Kabbah government. The
AFRC suspended the constitution, banned political activity and public meetings, and
invited the RUF to join their junta (Reconstructing Sierra Leone 31). The AFRC
and the RUF continued the brutal massacres in Sierra Leone together, targeting
anyone who opposed them.
In June of 1997, the Economic Community of West African States
(ECOWAS), the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the United Nations (UN),
the United States, and other countries and organizations within the international
community began to place intense pressure on this junta to return to democratic rule.
While the UN placed an oil and arms embargo on the country, OAS authorized
ECOWAS to use any necessary means to return the country to democratic rule
without inflicting additional suffering on the already hard-pressed Sierra Leonean
people (Reconstructing Sierra Leone 31). Additionally, Nigeria sent in armed
forces with added support from Guinea and Ghana to try and end the rule of the
Revolutionary United Front.
As a result of this increased international pressure, the Conakry Accord was
signed by representatives of the Revolutionary United Front, Armed Forces
30


Revolutionary Council, and C-5, a group of foreign ministers from Cote DIvoire,
Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, and Liberia established by ECOWAS. In this peace
agreement, each delegate committed to a cease-fire,.. .a six month timetable for
reinstallation of President Kabbah, .. .disarmament of combatants and verification of
the ceasefire and disarmament by UN military observers (Reconstructing Sierra
Leone 32).
Based on a request in the Conakry Accord, the United Nations Security
Council created the United Nations Observer Mission in Sierra Leone (UNOMSIL)
to help restore peace, security, and reconciliation within this conflict-ridden country.
On July 13, 1998, the UN gave the following mandate:
(a) To monitor the military security situation in the country as a whole, as
security conditions permit, and to provide the Special Representative of
the Secretary-General with regular information thereon in particular with
a view to determine when conditions are sufficiently secure to allow
subsequent deployments of military observers beyond the first phase
described in paragraph 7 below;
(b) To monitor the disarmament and demobilization of former combatants
concentrated in secure areas of the country, including monitoring of the
role of ECOMOG in the provision of security and in the collection and
destruction of arms in those secure areas;
(c) To assist in monitoring respect for international humanitarian law,
including at disarmament and demobilization sites, where security
conditions permit;
(d) To monitor the voluntary disarmament and demobilization of members
of the Civil Defense Forces, as security conditions permit (Resolution
1181 (1998) 2).
31


This mandate and resolution gave authorization for the United Nations
peacekeeping operation to remain in Sierra Leone for six months, or until further
approval.
Response by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination
Because of the political and economic origins of this war, the documentation
by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination concerning the
occurrence of racial discrimination in Sierra Leone is extremely limited. Before the
establishment of the peacekeeping operation UNOMSIL in 1998, the Committee
had not received a submission by Sierra Leone since 1974. Therefore, meetings
were limited to the review of knowledge that the country had not submitted the
reports required every two years by the Convention and that the Committee should
once again remind the state party of its obligations.
In one report, the Committee mentioned one outstanding concern regarding
Sierra Leones 1991 Constitution. According to section 27 of the Constitution,
which references a persons right against discrimination,
no law shall make provision which is discriminatory either or itself or in its
effect.. .the expression discriminatory means affording different treatment
to different persons attributable wholly or mainly to their respective
descriptions by race tribe, sex, place of origin, political opinions, colour or
creed whereby persons of one such description are subjected to disabilities
or restrictions to which persons of another such description are not made
subject, or are accorded privileges or advantages which are not accorded to
32


persons of another such description (Section 27, Subsection (1) and
Subsection (3)).
However, in the subsequent paragraph of the Constitution under section 27, Sierra
Leones government has listed eight areas in which the conditions regarding
discrimination above shall not apply. One of these eight areas the Committee
seemed to be particularly concerned with was the following terms:
Subsection (1) shall not apply to any law so far as that law makes
provision...
h. for the limitation of citizenship or relating to national registration
or to the collection of demographic statistics (Constitution of
Sierra Leone (1991) Section 27, Subsection (4)).
The Committee argued that this Constitutional provision is contradictory to Article
1, Subsection 3, of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination, which states nothing in this Convention may be interpreted as
affecting in any way the legal provisions of States Parties concerning nationality,
citizenship or naturalization, provided that such provisions do not discriminate
against any particular nationality. However, after merely mentioning this concern,
members of the Committee concluded that it would not be useful to reopen
discussion on the basis of the previous reports, but that communication should be
sent to the state noting that an important question had been outstanding since 1974
and requesting information about constitutional and other developments (Review
of the Implementation of CERD: Sierra Leone 2).
33


Therefore, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination gave
no indication in its meeting minutes that the citizens of Sierra Leone were being
subjected to racial discrimination, even outside of the political conflict that was
occurring. Although, the Security Council stated that it was gravely concerned at
the loss of life and immense suffering undergone by the people of Sierra Leone,
including refugees and displaced persons, as a result of the continuing rebel attacks,
and in particular the plight of children affected by this conflict, the Committee did
not mention specific information regarding the war or any racial issues (Resolution
1181 (1998)). The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination focused
almost solely on the lateness of country reports, instead of racial discrimination.
Analysis
Because the conflict in Sierra Leone was not one based on racial
discrimination, it is understandable why the Committee did not recommend
intervention on behalf of an ethnic group. Although the conflict continued for seven
years, the 5,000-7,000 fatalities that occurred were not related to racial intolerance.
The Revolutionary United Front was not targeting a specific ethnic group; all types
of people were the victims of torture or death.
The Committees overriding theme for discussion was the fact that a country
report had not been submitted since 1974. The conclusions of such meetings were
that communication should be sent to the Government of the reporting State setting
34


out its reporting obligations under the Convention and urging that dialogue with the
Committee should be resume as soon as possible (Review of the Implementation
of CERD: Sierra Leone 2). The Committee was clearly stating that Sierra Leone
had violated Article 9 of the Convention, which explains that a state party must
submit a report to the Committee every two years. The lack of information given to
the Committee by the state party seemed to paralyze its ability to discuss racial
discrimination.
During meetings regarding Sierra Leone, Committee members brought up
issues of the past, but did not wish to go into detail because new information had not
been presented by the state. Instead of initiating discussion on current issues in
Sierra Leone by personally gathering information, the Committees dialogue had
been halted by the lack of new information submitted by the state. No extra effort
was exerted to determine if racial discrimination was persisting.
Despite the failure of the Committee to review racial discrimination, one
cannot assume it did not exist in Sierra Leone. Even before independence in 1961
from the British colonizers, divisions existed along ethnic lines. For example, the
Krio people, the majority of which lived in Freetown, were an educated and wealthy
settler population. As a result of their education, the Krio, who made up less than
two percent of the population, held a disproportionate number of the jobs in the
central administration and the professions (Sesay 150). Because this wealthy,
educated group had so much power within the society, the Krio were resented by
35


many of the locals. In the 1950s, the British established a voting system in which
all adults could vote and the person with the majority of votes would win the
election. Therefore, because the winner would need to be favored by the majority,
the Krio were never able to rule the government because of lack of popularity.
Another population, which created tension among the ethnic groups, has
been the Lebanese. These people began migrating to Sierra Leone in the nineteenth
century. When Sierra Leone gained independence, the Lebanese dominated the job
market. However, Lebanese economic success, due partly to a deliberate British
colonial policy that favored them and partly to their hard work, has always been
viewed unfavorably by the rest of Sierra Leone society. As such, the Lebanese have
been the object of enormous local resentment and sometimes abuse and attack
(Sesay 151). Despite this discrimination, the Lebanese have continued to dominate
the economic and political sectors of Sierra Leones society.
Although it appeared that the Committee was not concerned with the
conflict occurring in Sierra Leone because it was politically, rather than racially
motivated, racial discrimination existed. Accounts of discrimination, such as those
listed above, cannot be discarded, especially under the Convention on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The Committee should have further
investigated the existing inequalities, as well as how disparities among ethnic
groups may have contributed to the current conflict. If poverty was a concern of the
Revolutionary United Front, and certain ethnic groups are dominating the countrys
36


political and economic systems, such as the Krio or the Lebanese, it was possible
that there is a correlation between the war and ethnic groups.
In the periodic reports preceding the United Nations intervention in 1998,
the concerns listed by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
regarding Sierra Leone concentrated on the deficiency of reports submitted by the
country. However, according to the sources mentioned above, racial discrimination
existed in Sierra Leone, even if it was not a clear source of the conflict. Racial
discrimination dates back hundreds of years and has persisted beyond Sierra
Leones attainment of independence. Nevertheless, the Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination failed to address these issues and racial
discrimination continues.
In the next chapter, another country will be analyzed in which the
Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination reacted similarly to the case
of Sierra Leone. In the Central African Republic, a mutiny formed to oust the
President and to earn arrearages. An initial protest of the government has
intensified into a two-year conflict. However, the Committee paid little attention to
the role of racial discrimination in the Central African Republic. Consequently,
little pressure was placed on the state party to end the existing inequalities. Much
like the case of Sierra Leone, the Committee placed more emphasis on the persistent
lateness of country reports, rather than eradicating racism.
37


CHAPTER 3
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
What began as a rebellion to receive overdue salaries and to protest poor
living conditions led to a mutiny in which a group of soldiers and their supporters
rallied to overthrow the President of the Central African Republic. To add to the
already fragile conditions, racial discrimination was supported within the society.
The government officials favored people of their own ethnicity while denying others
basic rights. Despite the knowledge that these inequalities existed, the Committee on
the Elimination of Racial Discrimination did little to pressure the government to stop
this discrimination, which is comparable to the Committees response in the case of
Sierra Leone. Much of its focus has been condemning the country for its late
reports, instead of focusing on ways to compel the state party to eradicate racial
discrimination.
History of Conflict
In April of 1996, after months of poor living conditions and the failure of the
government to pay members of the public sector and the armed forces their salaries,
a rebellion formed against the government of the Central African Republic. Strikes
and rallies were held by the soldiers to protest the current government officials and to
38


demand their money. With this public pressure, the President of the Central African
Republic, Ange Felix Patasse, agreed to pay the arrearages. However, "following the
mutiny, the President suspended political activity and public assembly, and restricted
movement out of the country" ("Central African Republic Country Report... 1996"
1). This action only enraged the people of the Central African Republic and more
anti-government demonstrations were held.
In an attempt to retain his power and a positive image, President Patasse
denied that the economic and social decline was due to his administration over the
last two years. Instead, he argued, the poor conditions were due to previous leaders.
While trying to smooth public relations, Patasse ordered the county's arsenal to
change leadership from the national army to the Presidential Guard. However, in a
time in which the soldiers of the national armed forces were already upset with the
governments administration and actions, this move by Patasse created more
discontent.
In May, approximately 500 soldiers who were part of the Democratic Council
of the Central African Opposition (CODEPO) rebelled to overthrow the government.
During this conflict, more than "100 people were killed, many children were
wounded, and soldiers detained the president of the National Assembly and other
officials as hostages at Camp Kasai in the capital" ("Central African Republic
Country Report... 1996" 1). The French, who have been involved with the Central
39


African Republic since colonization, deployed troops organized through the French
Elements of Operational Assistance (EFAO) to stop the conflict. After numerous
negotiations between the soldiers and government representatives, the two groups
settled on a peace agreement, which released the hostages, granted amnesty to the
soldiers, and created the Government of National Unity.
This new government, both parties agreed, would include the major political
parties in the Central African Republic and a new independent Prime Minister, Jean-
Paul Ngoupande, was elected. When Patasse originally appointed governmental
officials to his support system, some ethnic diversity was represented. However,
"members of northern ethnic groups close to the President are a majority in Patasse's
Cabinet and also receive favorable treatment in government appointments" ("Central
African Republic Country Report... 1996" 8). Despite a guarantee of representation
of all political parties in the new government, throughout the next months the
CODEPO felt it did not have adequate representation. Therefore, they withdrew
from the Government of National Unity.
In November of 1996, another conflict erupted. An unsuccessful attempt by
the government to arrest Andre Saulet, a former officer in the armed forces and a
relative of the previous president, Kolingba, sparked a revolt primarily based on
ethnicity. The Yokama peoples, who were supporters of Kolingba, comprised over
half of the armed forces population, and were excluded from current government
40


positions, united to overthrow Patasse and to establish a new government. The
EFAO was deployed once again to create peace. Because President Patasse was
concerned about the upheaval in his country, he appealed to the Presidents of Gabon,
Burkina Faso, Chad, and Mali to intervene. President Patasse asked these regional
officials to serve as mediators between the supporters and opponents of the Central
African Republics government. After numerous discussions to reach an agreement,
the mediators succeeded. All parties who were involved in the conflict signed the
Bangui Agreements on January 25,1997. The presence of the EFAO prevented the
overthrow of Patasse and the presidents helped end the conflict; however, over a
hundred people were killed in this uprising.
Upon request from President Patasse and after the Conference on Consensus-
building and Dialogue, four presidents assisted Patasse in establishing the Inter-
African Mission to Monitor the Implementation of the Bangui Agreements (MISAB)
on January 31,1997. Its mandate was aimed at restoring peace and security by
monitoring the implementation of the Bangui Agreements and conducting operations
to disarm the former rebels, the militia and all other unlawfully armed individuals
(Central African Republic-MINURCA Background 1). Seven countries worked
together to send approximately 800 soldiers and financial aid to the Central African
Republic. The creation of MISAB marked the transfer of peacekeeping operations
from French troops to an African coalition. Additionally, President Patasse agreed to
41


form the Go vernment for the Defense of Democracy, which included his ruling party,
representatives from the opposition group, and a new Prime Minister, Michel
Gbezera-Bria, who had served in many previous administrations.
However, as MISAB personnel attempted to disarm the soldiers involved in
the mutiny, they encountered great resistance. Beginning in March, small outbreaks
of violence occurred, stemming from lack of representation in the government,
discontent with the president and his officials, and clashes with MISAB agents. In
June, after the death of a MISAB peacekeeper by a rebel, "Chadian and Burkinabe
troops [part of MISAB], with French helicopter support, launched a heavy
bombardment of the Kassai barracks, the main rebel base" ("Country Report:
Central African Republic 26). In the five months of the MISAB mission, this attack
was the most extreme. In addition to homes and business being destroyed, 500
people were killed and approximately 70,000 civilians were forced to leave the city
("Central African Republic Countiy Report... 1997" 1).
Slightly after a year from the time when MISAB was established, France
decided to withdraw its personnel and financial assistance. Officials in France
pressured the United Nations to become involved with a peace operation, favoring
moving the main logistical support from France to the United Nations. Because the
remaining countries in the operation, Burkina Faso, Chad, Gabon, Mali, Senegal, and
Togo, were not able to gather enough aid without France, MISAB was going to be
42


disabled. When France was almost prepared to pull out, the Security Council of the
United Nations asked the Secretary-General to report on the status of the Central
African Republic. In response, the Secretary-General indicated, the only viable
option appeared to be the establishment and development of another peacekeeping
operation authorized by the international community (Central African Republic-
MINURCA Background 2). Therefore, the United Nations Security Council
decided to approve a mission to the Central African Republic and to have it
functional by the time France was ready to leave in the middle of April 1998. The
UN was successful and the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic
(MINURCA) was operational on April 15, 1998. The peacekeeping operation had
the following mandate:
(a) To assist in maintaining and enhancing security and stability, including
freedom of movement, in Bangui and the immediate vicinity of the city;
(b) To assist the national security forces in maintaining law and order and in
protecting key installations in Bangui;
(c) To supervise, control storage, and monitor the final disposition of all
weapons retrieved in the course of the disarmament exercise;
(d) To ensure security and freedom of movement of United Nations
personnel and the safety and security of United Nations property;
(e) To assist in coordination with other international efforts and in a short-
term police trainers program and in other capacity-building efforts of the
national police, and to provide advice on the restructuring of the national
police and special police forces;
43


(f) To provide advice and technical support to the national electoral bodies
regarding the electoral code and plans for the conduct of the legislative
elections scheduled for August/September 1998 (Resolution 1159 3).
With this mission, the efforts to create and maintain peace would be continued.
MINURCA was authorized to be in the Central African Republic for three months,
unless approved for an additional period of time.
Response bv the Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination
The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination had very little
discussion about the events in 1996 and the problems that led to UN intervention in
the Central African Republic. Numerous publications regarding the issue of overdue
reports were available because the Committee had not received a country report
since 1984. Even the submission in 1984, the Committee stated, was inadequate.
However in 1993 after growing concern over cases of racial discrimination, without
the submission of a state report, the Committee reviewed the countrys practices.
While reviewing the Central African Republics constitution, the socio-
economic status of the 80 ethnic groups, and nongovernmental organizations, the
Committee found several disturbing polices that affected different ethnic groups.
One example referenced the unequal treatment of people living in the Central African
Republic. The
44


forest dwelling Bayaka, or Pygmies, were subject to discrimination and
exploitation, which the government had done little to correct. Pygmies were
often hired by villagers to work for wages much lower than those received by
other groups. Muslims, particularly Mbororo (Peuhl) herders, were
sometimes resented by other Central Africans for their affluence and were
thus singled out for harassment, especially by police. There were few
Muslims in senior Government posts (Summary of the 972nd Meeting 7).
Because of such disturbing claims and lack of information regarding how the
government was responding to such discrimination, the Committee requested
additional information from the Central African Republic. The Committee sought
records stating how the states legislation complied with the Convention, the
socioeconomic status of the ethnic groups and how it was working to improve living
conditions, whether or not the government recognized minority language and
customs rights, if governmental and nongovernmental organizations were in place to
promote equality among ethnic groups, and how the government and the institutions
of the Central African Republic were explicitly working to prevent and eradicate
racial discrimination. One Committee member, Mr. Aboul-Nasr, declared that he
deplored the feet that the Central African Republic was disregarding its obligations
under the Convention (Summary of the 972nd Meeting 9). Many of the other
members agreed with this statement. A letter to the country was to be sent regarding
these feelings.
Two months later the Committee reviewed the Central African Republic
again and briefly discussed the issues mentioned above. They discussed again the
45


need for more information to draw conclusions about the extent of racial
discrimination in the country. The Committee members were disappointed that the
government had not responded to its invitation to participate in the meeting and to
furnish the relevant information (Concluding Observations of the Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination: Central African Republic 2). However, they
hoped to receive a report soon. This is the last available report by the Committee
that discussed the Central African Republics racial discrimination status before the
peacekeeping mission MINURCA.
Reports from other sources also confirm the racial discrimination occurring in
the Central African Republic. According to United States Department of State's
Central African Republic Country Reports on Human Rights Practices in 1996, 1997,
and 1998, human rights abuses are prevalent in this country. The Central African
Republic "Constitution stipulates that all persons are equal before the law without
regard to wealth, race, sex, or religion, by the government does not effectively
enforce these provisions, and significant discrimination exists" ("Central African
Republic Country Report...l996" 7). These country reports confirm the Committee's
finding that Pygmies are often the subjects of social, economic, and political
discrimination because of their ethnicity and that typically the President's ethnic
group will receive the most government appointments and the greatest allocation of
resources.
46


Analysis
Because the two-year conflict in the Central African Republic has been
documented as politically and economically motivated, rather than ethnic based, it is
once again understandable why the Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination did not recommend intervention to stop the conflict. However, this
case is slightly different than Sierra Leone. The Committee was concerned about the
racial inequality occurring in the Central African Republic.
From the brief history stated above, one could make a general conclusion that
the conflict in the Central African Republic was political. However, numerous
sources have documented the prevalence of racial discrimination, which possibly
fueled the conflict. For example, a situation was documented above in which people,
who are from the same ethnic descent as the political leader, or president, will
receive more opportunities in government and possibly more resources as well. If
this is true, this action indicates the occurrence of racial discrimination.
The Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination cites the term
racial discrimination to mean "any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference
based on race, colour, descent, or national 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 (Article 1, Subsection 1). The government
47


officials, in this case, would be clearly violating Article 1 of the Convention by
supporting racial discrimination. Additionally, this assistance by the President to his
people could have led to contempt among other ethnic populations. A possible
consequence of the Presidents actions could be the desire of the outsiders to
overthrow the government in order to gain more resources, which is comparable to
the situation described in the history above. Therefore, a conflict that at first may
seem political because of a primary objective to oust the President, may indeed be
fueled by ethnic discrimination and lead to an ethnicity based conflict. More
evidence is needed to support or deny this claim in the case of the Central African
Republic. However, it would have been a valuable investigation by the Committee
on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
A second case in which the Committee itself cited racial discrimination was in
the case of the Pygmies, or Bayaka. These people were paid less than others
working in the same position and were excluded from participating in decisions that
affect their lives because of their ethnicity. This treatment clearly fells under the
definition of racial discrimination, in addition to Article 5 of the Convention, which
states that people are entitled to "equal pay for equal work." Despite the fact that
the Pygmies only make up one to two percent of the population in the Central
African Republic, they are entitled to the same rights as anyone living in this country
under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
48


However, the Committee has exerted little pressure on the government officials to
stop this inequality and noncompliance of the Convention regulations.
Lastly, the Central African Republic was in violation of Article 9 of the
Convention in which state parties are required to submit a report to the Committee
every two years. From 1984, when the last report by the country was submitted, to
1998, when the United Nations intervened to maintain peace, the Committee did not
receive one report from the Central African Republic. Although very little dialogue
occurred regarding the conflict within the state, the Committee did discuss on
numerous occasions the lack of reports submitted. Although such deficiencies by the
state generally led to the inability of the Committee to discuss the country's status of
implementation of the Convention, in one case, the Committee members did gather
information without a state report. This action is what makes this case different from
the Committees response in Sierra Leone. The Committee members were so
concerned about the discrimination occurring in the Central African Republic that
members gathered information to answer their own questions. In other words,
because of disturbing accusations of racial discrimination in the Central African
Republic, the Committee independently collected data to remain aware of the
inequalities taking place. Therefore, although the conflict occurring in the country
may have not been a concern to the Committee, the discrimination taking place was a
49


priority. However, little follow-up to that report occurred before the United Nations
intervention.
Therefore, it seems as though the Committees concerns about the Pygmies
were not great enough to take action. The extent to which racial discrimination was
affecting their lives was too small, and therefore the Committee did not recommend
intervention. Although members of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination may "deplore" the feet the country is clearly violating the fundamental
obligations of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination, the actions by the Committee were minimal in enforcing the country's
responsibilities. Even though a letter was written to state officials to encourage their
participation in the Convention, racial discrimination continued to take place in the
Central African Republic.
In the next chapter, the case of Guatemala will be discussed. Guatemalas
36-year conflict was marked by both political and ethnic conflict. However, the
response by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has differed
only slightly from that in the cases of Sierra Leone and the Central African Republic.
The Committee did place the country under the Early Warning and Urgent
procedure; however, that was the extent of the action taken. Despite hundreds of
thousands of people dying, many from one ethnic group, the Committee on the
50


Elimination of Racial Discrimination did not recommend intervention by the United
Nations.
51


CHAPTER 4
GUATEMALA
From 1960 to 1996, Guatemala was involved in civil war. As a result of an
attempt to redistribute Guatemalas land more equally in the 1950s, discontent
among large landowners grew. Consequently, the President was overthrown and the
makings of a war began. Numerous presidents during the subsequent 36-year
period targeted civilians to end dissent by means of torture, executions, and
supporting disappearances. The Mayans, the indigenous peoples of Guatemala,
suffered greatly during this time as they were victims of numerous acts of cruelty.
Despite this targeted discrimination, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination did little to stop the conflict or help these people. Consequently,
tens of thousands of people from one ethnic group died.
History of Conflict
In 1950, Colonel Jacobo Arbenz from the Popular Liberating Front won the
presidential election. While in office, he began to study the countrys agrarian
situation and discovered 99.1 percent of farms were small holdings accounting for
only 14 percent of the land; 0.1 percent of holdings occupied 41 percent of the land
surface included in the census; 40 percent of the farms were owned by twenty-three
52


families; fifty-four farms took up 19 percent of the land; and there were
approximately 250,000 landless peasants (REMHI185). Arbenz found that the
majority of the farms were not large enough to support the average Guatemalan
family. Two years later, the Agrarian Reform Law was passed. This law demanded
that all land not being used for cultivation be given to Local Agrarian Committees,
who would, in turn, distribute the acreage to the landless campesinos. The
government would reimburse the owners who relinquished their undeveloped land.
Approximately 100,000 families benefited from this plan (Schirmer 13).
However, rebellions against this land reform developed. Plantation owners
and families in possession of large amounts of acreage staged violent protests.
Additionally, United Fruit Company, a United States based corporation who was
Guatemalas largest landowner, was unhappy with the land reorganization as well.
Because only 15 percent of their land was cultivated, approximately 400,000 acres
was removed from the companys ownership (Costello 2). Representatives from
this business began to support the anti-government uprising. On June 17, 1954,
after the United Fruit Company informed its allies in the United States government
of the expropriations, a CIA-sponsored army, called the liberacionistas, crossed the
Guatemalan border from Honduras to help overthrow the government. The
rebellion was successful: Arbenz and his government were removed from power
and the Agrarian Reform Law was reversed.
53


Without elected government officials in office, military officers and private
businessmen seized power. Dissent among reformists was gradually eliminated
both within the army and in civil society most of which was proscribed or destroyed
through targeted repression (Costello 2). Challenging the status quo was no longer
allowed by the new leaders.
Among growing discontent of the new government officials, groups of
civilians, militants, and members of the Guatemalan armed forces began to stage
protests. On November 13, 1960, army officials at several bases united to take over
army headquarters. Members of this rebellion believed only the army can
cooperate effectively with the people to get rid of the reactionaries and their allies,
members of the army who unlawfully retain power and enrich themselves at the
expense of the people. Rebels called for the installation of a regime of social
justice in which riches pertain to those who work and not to the exploiters, those
who starve the people, and the gringo imperialists (REMHI 191). They believed
everyones rights should be recognized, rather than only the rights of the wealthy.
This uprising began Guatemalas civil war.
In the next decade, opposition movements continued to grow and state
officials continued the internal strife. President Carlos Arana in 1971, for example,
was quoted saying If it is necessary to turn the country into a cemetery in order to
pacify it, I will not hesitate to do so (Amnesty International 6). These types of
comments led to the formation of groups such as the Rebel Armed Forces (FAR),
54


comprised of army dissidents, students, activists, Guatemalan National
Revolutionary Unity (URNG), Guerilla Army of the Poor (EGP), and the
Revolutionary Organisation of the People in Arms (ORPA), all of which disagreed
with the government and its actions. The Mayans joined the latter two groups in a
struggle for then own liberation.
Discrimination against the Mayans dates back to colonization by the
Spaniards in the 1520s. During the conquest of Guatemala, the Spanish took large
amounts of land from the Mayans and then used these people for forced labor on the
Spaniards coffee plantations. Although the slave labor was eventually legally
abolished in 1944, the Mayans did not receive their land back. Although
unsuccessful, the only attempt to redistribute the land since the Spanish conquest
was that of President Arbenz through the Agrarian Reform Law. In addition to
economic discrimination, the Mayan peoples have also been subjected to a political
culture of racism and exclusion, underpinned by a state which promoted the culture,
values, customs, and interests of the minority ladino population (Costello 3).
Therefore, since colonization, the Mayans have not been able to realize their rights
because of economic, political, and social discrimination due to their ethnicity.
With an increase in oppositional groups against the government, two
presidents set out to eliminate those in resistance, especially the Mayans. Heads of
State General Romeo Lucas Garcia and General Efrain Rios Montt, in power from
1978 to 1982 and 1982 to 1983 respectively, unleashed a vicious war which aimed
55


literally to depopulate Mayan areas where the guerillas were operating (Costello 4).
Both of these officials supported the disappearance, extrajudicial execution, or
torture of anyone who was perceived as being a dissident.
In 1981, Civil Defense Patrols (PACs) were established by General Lucas
Garcia to further control any rebellion. According to the government, these were
groups of civilians volunteering to monitor dissidents and increase security.
However, national and international human rights organizations found that
villagers were coerced into these patrols under military orders and acted under
military supervision as adjuncts to the regular army (Amnesty International 50).
People who resisted becoming a part of these patrols would be killed. Although the
PACs were established to improve the well-being of civilians, many were involved
in the massacres of subversives often carrying out the violence ordered by the
President. At the height of counter-insurgency operations, it is generally estimated
that one million people were recruited into the patrols when the population totaled
some eight million (Amnesty International 50).
During the same year the Civil Defense Patrols were created, guerilla
resistance was at its peak (REMHI222). Not only were oppositional groups strong,
but so were the indigenous peoples. Foreseeing where the army would move, the
Mayans in one situation cut telegraph wires and used nails, barricades, fallen trees,
and other objects to block the roadways for dozens of miles in both directions in an
effort to impede the armys overland access to occupied areas (REMHI 222).
56


Organizing different resistance movements or operations to decrease the force of the
army was a success for the Mayans. However in late 1981, because of a lack of
cooperation both within and among resistance groups, the oppositions power
decreased.
On August 8, 1983, a coup ousted Head of State General Efrain Rios Montt
and placed General Oscar Humberto Mejia Victores in power as the new President.
The goal of Victores was to reform the system for placing new presidents into
power. Instead of continuing to use coups to overthrow the government, as were
used for the last 20 years, Victores declared that there would be a democratic
presidential election.
In 1985, Vincinio Cerezo from the Christian Democrat Party won the
election. After campaigning for reconciliation of the past through decreased
violence, investigating disappearances, and reviewing the need for Civil Defense
Patrols, Cerezo received the majority of the nations votes. However, within
months after his election, people began to question the promises he had made prior
to his appointment. Although Cerezo signed the Esquipulas II Accord, The
Procedure for the Establishment of a Firm and Lasting Peace in Central America,
which endorsed national reconciliation through a variety of methods,
militaiy structures remained intact and untouchable therefore, despite the
return to civilian rule. Furthermore, during Cerezos five-year term, human
violations actually increased, taking a number of forms from death threats
against church leaders proposing land reform, to the murder and
disappearance of human rights activists, students, trade unionists,
57


independent media workers and political leaders. The killings were highly
selective in the high-profile leaders were generally left alone, while key local
activists were assassinated to create public fear and preclude effective
grassroots organization (Costello 6).
Despite Cerezos lack of action to decrease the violence, the peace talks
continued. The opposition group Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity
(URNG) and government officials met to discuss the Esquipulas II Accord and the
National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) was formed. These talks regarding
implementation of the peace agreement continued until 1990, without reaching
consensus on how to achieve the obligations of the Accord.
On March 30, 1990 the National Reconciliation Committee and the
Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity signed the Oslo Accord, The Basic
Agreement on the Search for Peace by Political Means. Because of unsuccessful
attempts to reach consensus between the government and the URNG in the past, this
Accord made specific arrangements for negotiations between the two parties.
Additionally, the United Nations was invited to observe the peace making process.
In 1991, Jorge Serrano Elias from the Solidarity Action Movement won the
national presidential election. In April, several months after the election, Elias
proposed the Initiative for Total Peace. This initiative recommended a cease-fire
between the government and oppositional groups and opened a discussion regarding
the role the URNG should have in government. On April 26, 1991 the Mexico
Accord, The Search for Peace by Political Means With the Agreement on the
58


Procedure for the Search for Peace by Political Means, was signed in which the
government and URNG coordinated the agenda for negotiations. On July 25, 1991,
yet another accord, the Queretaro Agreement, The Framework Agreement on
Democratisation in the Search for Peace by Political Means, was settled upon. This
initiative discussed the democratic process in Guatemala. Despite these peace
negotiations, the violence continued.
On the 25th of May 1993, President Jorge Serrano decided, without
warning, to dissolve the Congress, Supreme Court of Justice, and the Constitutional
Court, and to repudiate the human rights ombudsman. He also decreed a system of
censorship and suspended several articles of the Constitution concerning individual
rights (REMHI273). This action was the answer to changing a corrupt legislature
and judiciary system, he believed. However, several officials refused to leave their
appointments, and the Defense Minister called for the resignation of Serrano. With
the help of civil organizations and the Congress, on June 6, 1993, the former human
rights ombudsman, Ramiro de Leon Carpio, was elected as the new President.
Although the war continued and Carpios presidency was criticized because of an
increased power of the army, peace negotiations persisted.
Five peace accords were proposed in 1994, another in 1995, but it was not
until 1996 that the transition to actual peace became possible. With the election of a
new president in 1995, Alvaro Azru, from the National Advancement Party, the
peace process was given what it needed to succeed. A new Peace Commission
59


(COPAZ) was created, which began drafting new peace accords. The Guatemalan
government and the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity (URNG), in addition
to signing agreements focusing on human rights, the rights of indigenous peoples,
and timetables for the end of the conflict, they authorized the Social and Economic
Aspects of the Agrarian Situation and the Strengthening of Civilian Power and the
Role of the Army. As shown by the endorsement of these documents, the URNG
had finally reached agreement with the Guatemalan government on many social and
economic issues. These agreements led to the possibility of a cease-fire and the
restoration of peace. The Guatemalan army approved of the end of counter-
insurgency operations against the URNG and the Civil Defense Patrol Officers, the
source of many human rights violations, were ordered to stop patrolling the cities.
Finally, in 1996 after years of negotiation, the Guatemalan government and the
Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity agreed to a lasting peace, the cessation of
hostilities, the rebuilding of solidarity within their country, and a ceasefire through
the Agreement on a Firm and Lasting Peace.
At this time, the United Nations was asked by the Guatemalan government
and the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity to oversee the peace process.
Specifically, the two groups asked that the United Nations help to maintain the
ceasefire and ensure that the URNG had been demobilized. Therefore, the Security
Council decided to authorize a group of 155 military observers and requisite
medical personnel for the purposes of verification of the agreement on the definitive
60


ceasefire (Resolution 1094 (1997) 2). On January 20, 1997, the United Nations
Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA) was established for an initial
period of three months.
However, in the ten years of peace negotiations and 36 years of civil war,
fatalities were estimated to be approximately 180,000 people. Additionally, 40,000
people disappeared during the conflict, over 400 villages were completely
destroyed, at least 100,000 became refugees in neighbouring Mexico, and a further
million were forcibly displaced within the country (Costello 1). The majority of
these people who were targeted and harassed or murdered were people of Mayan
descent (Amnesty International 6).
Response by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination
In 1995, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination met to
discuss the country report submitted by Guatemala earlier that year. The Committee
recognized the instability and war within the country and commended the countrys
efforts to end the armed conflicts and political instability through the peace accords
and the creation of a democratic political system. However, according to several
Committee members, the 1994 country report was inadequate in terms of how the
state party was actively preventing and eliminating racial discrimination. The
submission did not include specific evidence regarding the implementation of all of
61


the obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination, particularity Articles 2, 4, 5, and 7. Furthermore, Committee
members agreed that racial discrimination clearly existed in Guatemala
(Summary Record of the 1093rd Meeting 8).
The Committee questioned how the laws and policies enacted by the
Guatemalan government discouraged racial discrimination. They sought
information regarding how the conflict affected indigenous peoples, what kinds of
human rights violations were occurring against indigenous peoples, and how
refugees who were reentering the country were being treated. The Committee
inquired about how the people who committed crimes against humanity, especially
against the indigenous peoples, were going to be punished. Concerns were raised
about the possibility of indigenous peoples receiving fair trials and the protection of
their rights. Because of the many questions and unresolved answers, both the
Committee and the government representative acknowledged the inadequacy of the
current report. The Guatemalan representative agreed to submit an extended report
as soon as possible.
Sixth months later, in September of 1995, the Committee once again
reviewed the status of racial discrimination within Guatemala. In contrast to the last
meeting in which the Committee generally communicated questions about the
country report, in this meeting, members raised several areas of concern. The
Committee expressed profound concern.. .regarding the widespread discrimination
62


affecting the indigenous communities and excluding them from the enjoyment of
their civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights (Concluding
Observations of the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination: Guatemala 4). It criticized the extreme poverty, the high rate of
illiteracy, and the lack of resources available to indigenous peoples. This
maltreatment, the Committee stated, affected the indigenous populations ability to
achieve an adequate standard of living. The Committee deplored the human rights
violations, specifically the numerous excesses by the elements of the military and
the PACs against indigenous peoples, including summary executions and other
cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, threats and forcible recruitment into the
armed forces (Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Elimination of
All Forms of Racial Discrimination: Guatemala 4). Additionally, the members
argued, the failure of the government to investigate the crimes was unacceptable.
Therefore, although the Guatemalan government had ratified this Convention, the
lack of implementation was affecting the peoples right to be free from racial
discrimination.
One year later, Guatemala submitted another report to the Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which attempted to rectify the inadequacy of
the 1994 report. According to Guatemalas State Party report of 1996,
discrimination in Guatemala stems back to the period of colonization. This
inequality persisted as policies and laws were enacted to continue domination of the
63


colonizers, such as unequal land distribution and labor practices. Although,
according to the Guatemalan Government, officials and the Constitution, do not
advocate any discriminatory behavior or attitudes in Guatemalan society,
.. .discrimination exists in a veiled form in the daily lives of Guatemalans, in human
interrelationships based on structures inherited from the past (Seventh Periodic
Report of States Parties Due in 1996 4).
Another situation that contributed to the discrimination in Guatemala,
according to the State officials, was the
internal armed conflict by which the entire nation, but most heavily the
indigenous population in the countrys interior, has been affected for the last
35 years. The particular ways on which the conflict has developed has
established a framework that unfortunately tends seriously to impair the
rights of indigenous people, principally the rights to housing and access to
education, health and development, i.e. an entire set of basic needs
(Seventh Periodic Report of States Parties Due in 1996 4).
Therefore, despite the declaration by the government that everyone, especially
Guatemalas indigenous peoples, should be able to enjoy the rights granted by the
countrys constitution, discrimination continued to exist, especially among the
indigenous peoples.
According to this 1996 State Party report, the Guatemalan government had
been actively trying to eradicate discrimination. Each article listed in the
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination was
addressed in the Guatemalan Constitution or in its legislation. The government
created social funds to help eliminate poverty and violence, increased the amount
64


of health care facilities in isolated communities, and gave monetary assistance and
supplies for nutritional needs and clean water. The government had improved the
educational system by establishing more schools, teachers, and materials. In
addition to supporting both governmental and nongovernmental organizations
created to help indigenous peoples, the government had also increased the amount
of indigenous peoples working within the legislative system. The Government did
not condone discrimination and was fully aware of the fact that steps must be taken
to eradicate the de facto discrimination that impairs indigenous Guatemalans
enjoyment of their rights (Seventh Periodic Report of States Parties Due in 1996
4).
In the meeting following this 1996 state report, the Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination mentioned that it did receive this submission;
however, it would be waiting until the next meeting to review its contents. The
Chairman also indicated Guatemala should remain on the list under the early
warning and prevention procedure (Summary Record of the 1149th Meeting 2).
However, it is not clear from previous meeting minutes when the country was
originally placed under this procedure. Additionally, the Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination did not review this new Guatemalan report
before the resolution by the Security Council to establish the United Nations
Verification Mission in Guatemala.
65


Analysis
According to the Guatemalan history stated above, it would be safe to say
that discrimination against indigenous peoples has persisted for almost 500 years, or
since the Spanish conquests in 1524. The Mayans have been subjected to economic,
social, and political discrimination. However, the Committee on the Elimination of
Racial Discrimination has done very little to impact the countrys discrimination
policies. Although Guatemala was placed under the Early Warning and Urgent
Procedure, minimal pressure was placed on state party to eliminate racial
discrimination.
During Guatemalas 36-year war, in which hundreds of thousands of people
died, the counterinsurgency discourse that justified killing off peoples to the last
seed targeted indigenous people because they were seen as subversives (Nelson
95). The Mayans had been hunted by death squads and were victims of
disappearance, torture, and intimidation. Those who were activists toward land
reform were pursued even more actively.
As part of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination, people have the right to be free from racial discrimination and the
state party agrees not to sponsor or support any type of action of this sort. However,
selections of who was to disappear and be killed were said to be made after
consultations between the top officials of ministries of defense and the interior, and
the Army General Staff who commanded the forces responsible for the abuses
66


(Amnesty International 56). The National police were responsible for
disappearances as well, using unmarked police cars to carry out tasks. Individual
accounts of terror described men wearing combat boots or uniforms. Additionally,
until 1983 members of the regular army were most frequently responsible for grave
human rights violations such as extrajudicial killings and disappearances in rural
areas (Amnesty International 47).
However, according to Article 5 (b) of the Convention, people had the right
to be protected from the violence or harm of racial discrimination by the state party.
Article 4 (c) of the Convention states it shall not permit public authorities or public
institutions, national or local, to promote or incite racial discrimination. Clearly, if
the Guatemalan government and military officials were strategizing who should be
targeted and which indigenous person should disappear next because he or she was
fighting for land, the state party was not protecting its citizens from ethnic hatred.
Officials actions, by forming death squads, Civil Defense Patrols, or using army
recruits to target and kill specific people, especially the Mayans, were substantially
violating the Convention. In effect, the freedoms granted by the Convention were
not being honored.
According to Article 5 (a) of the Convention, all people have the right to
equal treatment under judiciary systems and Article 6 states that people have the
right to receive just and adequate reparation or satisfaction for any damage suffered
as a result of racial discrimination. However, the mass human rights violations
67


were not fully investigated by the Guatemalan government. In fact President Vincio
Cerezo stated, We are not going to be able to investigate the past. We would have
to put the entire army in jail... Everyone was involved in violence. If I start
investigations and dials, I am only encouraging revenge (Amnesty International
14). Therefore, officials were unwilling to provide any type of judicial review or
compensation for those who were affected by human rights violations. This is
another area in which the state party was clearly violating the Convention.
Guatemalas history has cultivated a hospitable environment for violence
by the maintenance of a profoundly unequal and racist social structure (May 17).
More than 200,000 people died in this 36-year conflict, many of which were Mayan.
Because the Mayans were being targeted to be victims of the war by the
government, it is clear that their livelihood was being threatened. By simply being
Mayan, they were being pursued. Although the Committee deplored the cruel,
inhuman, and degrading treatment occurring in Guatemala, little action was taken to
insist a stop to the violence. It is not clear how many people must suffer or die from
ethnic hatred, how long the racial discrimination must occur, or how many articles
of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination must be
violated in order for the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to
intervene.
In the next chapter, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination will demonstrate a strikingly different response to the prevalence of
68


racial discrimination. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, hundreds of
thousands of people were being blatantly executed because of their ethnicity. This
chapter will demonstrate the power that the Committee has when it believes too
much destruction is occurring as the result of discrimination; the Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination may recommend an intervention by the Untied
Nations to create peace.
69


CHAPTER 5
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
In a continent ravaged by war and ethnic conflict for decades, the events in
1994 continued this legacy. In Rwanda, massive numbers of people were dying as a
result of racism and the quest for power. Consequently, millions of people fled to
the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in 1994 known as Zaire, to escape
persecution and possibly death. However, this massive migration of Rwandan
refugees would only lead to a comparable war in a new country. As opposed to the
Committees minimal response in the cases of Sierra Leone and the Central African
Republic, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination responded
strongly to the war occurring in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The death
toll from racial discrimination became so high that the Committee pleaded to the
United Nations Security Council to intervene in the Congo and end the conflict.
History of Conflict
On the eastern border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo lies the
country of Rwanda. In this country a conflict began approximately four years
earlier, in 1990, when the Tutsis, who were previously exiled in Rwanda, decided to
regain power. During the war, at least half a million men, women, and children,
70


mostly ethnic Tutsis, were slaughtered by Hutu extremists who then controlled the
Rwandan military. Later in 1994, after the Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Patriotic
Army had defeated the former government, an estimated 2 million Hutus fled to the
neighboring countries (Ongoing Crisis in the Great Lakes 1). Therefore,
although the Hutus began the massacres in the beginning of the conflict, several
years later, the Tutsis sought retribution, which sent the Hutus into neighboring
countries. The majority of these people escaped to refugee camps in Zaire, now
known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. However, when the United
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees established these camps, the
administrators failed to separate the two conflicting groups.
The difficulty of the Rwandan peoples experience increased when they fled
to Zaire. People of Rwandan descent have been resented by the people of Zaire
because of their ownership of land for over a century. Therefore, when the
Rwandan refugees fled to Zaire for safety, they encountered numerous acts of
discrimination, regardless of whether the person was Hutu or Tutsi. These people
were subjected to acts of vandalism and violence from the Zaire military and the
local populace, and also from units of the Rwandanese militia (the Interhamwe)
living within the camps (Ethnic Issues 1).
However the direction of discrimination changed when the war in Zaire
began in 1996. Now the violence was aimed specifically at the Hutus, from both
Zaire and other countries in the region, living in the refugee camps. Many of these
71


refugees were the same people who escaped from their own countries only a few
years earlier to leave the violence that was being inflicted upon them. Zairian and
Burundi armed forces, Rwandan and Zairian militia groups, and the Rwandan
Patriotic Army led by the Tutsis, specifically targeted refugee camps. In addition to
these armed forces, two Congolese rebel movements, the Movement for the
Liberation of the Congo and Congolese Rally for Democracy, contributed to the
conflict. Among other methods of destruction used by these groups, there was
deliberate, premeditated massacres, the dispersal of refugees to an inaccessible,
inhospitable areas and the systematic blockade of humanitarian assistance
(Summary Record of the 1235 Meeting 12). Thousands of men, women, and
children died and tens of thousands of refugees returned to Rwanda because of this
new war.
The international community urged Mobutu, the president of Zaire, to
participate in peace negotiations. However, the discussions were unsuccessful.
With increasing international demands and pressure from militia movements and the
army, Mobutu fled to Morocco and his 30-year dictatorship ended. In May of
1997, the new government, headed by Kabila, seized control of a country that was
divided, demoralized and bankrupt (Democratic Republic of the Congo in Crisis
6).
Although Kabila pledged to create a better Democratic Republic of the
Congo, his actions quickly showed he would not fulfill his promises. The
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new vision of a broad-based government representing all important ethnic
and social groups never materialized. Instead a minority clique regime made
a silent coup detat by using the same techniques as the Mobutu clan earlier:
a Lubakat-dominated group of militaries loyal to Kabila and allies bound by
clientelism grabbed control of the revenue flow.. .and succeeded in rapidly
forming a new ethnic-based power elite, based on the power of a gun
(Scherrer 252).
Unwilling to support peace between the ethnic groups by disregarding issues of
regional security, questions of citizenship for certain ethnic groups, and increasing
the resources for the Congolese people, Kabila demonstrated the ethnicity-based
war was not over.
After a year and a half of Kabila being in power, another war began. On
July 27, 1998, Kabila had ordered all foreigners to be expelled, even the very
soldiers, officers, and Rwandan allies who brought him into power. Broadcasts on
television and radio called for citizens to eradicate the Tutsis and anyone who
looked like an enemy. Citywide marches were organized to promote hate and
killing. Citizens were instructed in radio announcements by the Congolese
government to use a machete, a spear, an arrow, a hoe, spades, rakes, nails,
truncheons, electric irons, barbed wire, stones, and the like in order, dear listeners,
to kill the Rwandan Tutsis (Democratic Republic of the Congo 11). This order
by Kabila and his government sparked an internal conflict that led to the massacre
of thousands of foreigners that would last for approximately one year.
On July 10, 1999, after all parties negotiated to end this relentless period of
war, representatives from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, Namibia,
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Rwanda, Uganda, and Zimbabwe signed the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement. Several
weeks later, the Movement for the Liberation of the Congo and the Congolese Rally
for Democracy, the two main rebel groups, joined the six countries and signed the
Agreement. This document included provisions to address security concerns,
disarm militia groups, stop the trafficking of weapons, created a Joint Military
Commission with representatives from both parties, and proposed an appropriate
force to be constituted, facilitated, and deployed by the United Nations in
collaboration with the OAU [Organization of African Unity] (Democratic
Republic of the CongoMONUC Background 1).
However, Kabila and his government were not committed to the
implementation of this contract. Therefore, the OAU and United Nations deemed it
was an appropriate time for the United Nations to intervene, as requested in the
Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement. On August 6, 1999, the Security Council authorized
the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
(MONUC). In this peacekeeping operation, the following mandates were given:
-To establish contacts and maintain a liaison with the JMC [Joint Military
Commission] and all parties to the Agreement;
-To assist the JMC and the parties in developing modalities for the
implementation of this Agreement;
-To provide technical assistance, as requested by the JMC;
-To provide information to the Secretary-General regarding the situation on
the ground, and to assist in refining a concept of operations for a possible
74


further role of the United Nations in the Implementation of the Agreement
once it is signed by all parties; and
-To secure from the parties guarantees of cooperation and assurances of
security for the possible deployment [of] in-country military observers
(Resolution 1258 2).
This mission was given the approval to remain in the Democratic Republic of the
Congo for a period of three months, or until further authorization.
Response by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination
The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has devoted
time in numerous meetings to discuss discrimination in the Democratic Republic of
the Congo. Following two state reports in 1995 and 1996, the Committee met to
speak about the new records. The lack of specific information in the reports
regarding the application of the Convention in everyday life, in the Committees
opinion, hindered its ability to accurately assess the implementation of the
Convention. Nevertheless, the Committee still listed recommendations for future
reports, achievements made by the government and institutions, factors impeding
the execution of the Convention, and areas of concern.
When reviewing discrimination in the Congo, the Committee acknowledged
the severe economic crisis, which has led to the general impoverishment of the
country and the deterioration of social and economic conditions, .. .the ethnic
tensions in the Great Lakes region and the very high number of refugees from
75


neighbouring countries who have come to Zaire during the past two years
(Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination: Democratic Republic of the Congo 27/09/96 2). Despite these
difficulties, the Committee recognized the governments transition to democracy
and the countrys constitution following the guidelines of the Convention and stated
All Zairians are equal before the law and are entitled to equal protection by
the law. No Zairian may, in matters of education or access to the civil
service or in any other matter, be the object of discriminatory treatment,
whether as a result of a law or of an act of the executive, by reason of his
religion, racial or ethnic origin, sex, place of birth, place of residence or
political beliefs (Ninth Periodic Reports... 2).
Although this constitutional declaration was a start to implementing the
Convention, the Committee expressed
grave concern... at allegations of large-scale discrimination against the
Pygmies (Batwa) and at reports of violent clashes in Kivu involving the
Hunde, the Nyanga and the Nande ethnic groups (considered to be natives of
Zaire), and the Banyarwanda and the Banaymulengue ethnic groups
(considered to be non-natives of Zaire, although they have lived in the
country for generations), causing thousands of deaths. Reports of alleged
regional ethnic cleansing in Shaba against the Kasai ethnic group, which
led to their massive displacement to other parts of the country, and of attacks
and widespread discrimination against Rwandan and Burundian refugees,
are also a subject of great concern for the Committee (Concluding
Observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination:
Democratic Republic of the Congo 27/09/96 3).
Additionally, the Committee condemned the governments actions, which had been
minimal, to intervene in ethnic conflicts. The Committee requested from the
Democratic Republic of the Congo concrete information regarding the application
of the Convention to Congolese society. Specifically, members solicited data
76


stating how the government and institutions were guaranteeing the rights of the
population and working to stop the racial discrimination that was occurring.
Over the next several months, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination reviewed the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
regularly. Periodic reports from Zaire not only answered questions from the past,
but also raised more concerns. Members discussed that fines and convictions for
people committing acts of ethnic discrimination were inconsistent because of a lack
of authority to carry out punishments. Additionally, although the Constitution
addressed some articles of the Convention, realization of human rights by the
government and institutions were minimal. For example, the Special Rapporteur
on the situation of human rights in Zaire affirmed that the Zairian authorities were
stirring up ethnic hatred and conflict between the refugees and the countys natives
(Summary Record of the 1173rd Meeting 7). Submissions from the Democratic
Republic of the Congo failed to specifically address reports of ethnic conflict.
Throughout such reviews and findings, the Committee consistently found a lack of
information regarding the implementation of the Convention and anti-discrimination
legislation.
On August 5, 1997, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination concluded that a lack of trustworthy information had hindered its
ability to act appropriately. Throughout the Congolese conflict, the Committee
noted,
77


the common ethnic identity of most of the victims was a matter of record;
they were Zairian Hutus and Hutu refugees from Rwanda and Burundi. The
methods used were premeditated massacres, the dispersal of refugees to
inaccessible, inhospitable areas and the systematic blockade of humanitarian
assistance. Of prime importance to the Committee was that all the facts
pointed to the conclusion that most of the victims came from one particular
ethnic group the Hutus, whether or not the conflict had an ethnic
motivation, or what some called, rather dubiously to his mind in that context,
a political motivation (Summary of the 1235th Meeting 12).
From this definite conclusion, the Committee wanted a team to be sent to the area to
review the conflict and the reports of large numbers of people missing (Summary
Record of the 1240th Meeting 3). This mission should occur before the spring 1998
session, the members agreed. Therefore, the Committee would be able to make a
decision on how to act based on accurate information from country reports and
mission findings. Additionally the country would be kept on the agenda through the
Early Warning and Urgent Procedure. However, it is unclear at which meeting
the Democratic Republic of the Congo was placed under this procedure.
Despite the Committees declaration in 1997 to determine in the spring of
1998 how to take action with the crisis in the Congo, a specific decision to
recommend United Nations intervention did not come until 1999. From 1997
forward, after each review of the conflict in the country, Committee members came
to the same general agreement that they were deeply concerned about the
persistence, in flagrant violation of the Convention, of ethnic conflicts which are in
general inspired by the policy of ethnic cleansing and may constitute acts of
genocide (Decision 4 (54) on the Democratic Republic of the Congo 1). Because
78


the acts of violence targeted people of a specific ethnic background, mainly the
Hutus, the Committee believed these acts were in direct violation of the Convention
on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The Committee elected
to keep this country on its agenda for over three consecutive years before the United
Nations intervened with a peacekeeping operation.
Agreeing with the recommendations from the Commission on Human
Rights, the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights, President of
the Security Council, and the Central Organ of the Mechanism for Conflict
Prevention, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination strongly
urge all the participants of the Congolese conflict to ensure the immediate cessation
of all hostilities, an end to the persistent campaign to incitement to racial and ethnic
hatred, and the prompt conclusion of the conflict through a negotiated peaceful
settlement between the parties (Decision 4 (54) on the Democratic Republic of the
Congo 1). The Committee recommended that the Democratic Republic of Congo
government quickly return to democracy and end racial discrimination in the
country. In addition, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
agreed that all persons responsible for the massacres and such great acts of human
rights violations should be punished.
Based on the evidence of racial discrimination, the Committee calls the
attention of the Security Council, through the Secretary-General of the United
Nations, to the need to cease the intervention of the Governments of other countries
79


which are in one way or another participating in the struggle waged in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as the illegal arms traffic into Congolese
territory (Decision 4 (54) on the Democratic Republic of the Congo 2). By
calling on the Security Council to intervene, the Committee on the Elimination of
Racial Discrimination hoped for a prompt end to the racially motivated violence in
the Democratic Republic of the Congo. To monitor these anticipated changes, the
Committee elected to keep the country on the agenda.
Analysis
Through the continuous review of the conflict in the Democratic Republic of
the Congo, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
demonstrated its concern regarding the ethnic conflict. In contrast to the case of
Sierra Leone, the Committee reviewed the conflict in the Congo independent of
state reports. Committee members commented in several meetings about the
inadequacy of reports, because of both a lack of information regarding the struggle
and the absence of trustworthy facts. However, members took it upon themselves to
remain aware of the ethnic issues. Once the country was placed under the Early
Warning and Urgent Procedure, the Committee reviewed the conflict in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo every few months, even though country reports
are due only every two years. Additionally, the Committee sent a team to
investigate the atrocities occurring in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. All of
80


these measures allowed the Committee to remain aware of the latest issues, despite
the inadequacy of state party reports.
Even with the Committee continuing to monitor the situation in the Congo, it
took the Committee three years, after the beginning of the war, to make a decisive
action and recommend intervention by the United Nations. Despite Committee
member references to genocide and ethnic cleansing, sending an investigative
committee to the Congo, and placing the country under the Early Warning and
Urgent Procedure classification, discrimination persisted. Near the beginning of the
conflict, members noted with concern the reports of clashes between ethnic groups.
Government-supported discrimination against Rwandan refugees was cited as
violating Articles 1 and 2 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Racial Discrimination. People were not being punished for ethnic cleansing, while
others were not being granted a fair trial, a violation of Article 5 of the Convention.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo was clearly violating numerous obligations
of the Convention since the beginning of the war.
From 1996, when the Committee began to closely monitor the conflict in the
Congo, a significant amount of pressure was not placed on the Congolese
government to stop the ethnic conflict. One member of the Committee, Mr. Banton,
recalled that as early as 1988 the Committee had expressed concern about
the situation of the country in question. Unfortunately, what seemed to be
only a small cloud had become a terrible storm that had dismantled civil
society and had already left millions dead. It was generally felt that it would
81


have been better for preventative measures to have been taken from the very
outset (Summary Record of 1253rd Meeting 10).
Until an intervention was requested, only dialogue between the members transpired
and letters were sent to the Democratic Republic of the Congo government.
Although Committee members expressed grave concern and urged the fighting
to end, a significant result did not occur until the United Nations intervened. In this
mission, an increase in the freedom, safety, and security for all ethnic groups was to
take place. In the meantime, however, over a million people had died from racial
discrimination (Suffering and Despair 1).
The final chapter will discuss the findings of this paper and disprove the
initial hypothesis of this paper. Similarities and differences in regards to the history
of the country and the response by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination will be examined. The country case studies of Sierra Leone, Central
African Republic, Guatemala, and Democratic Republic of the Congo, will be
further inspected to determine the factors that led the Committee to recommend
United Nations intervention.
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CHAPTER 6
CONCLUSIONS
The factors that led the Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination to recommend United Nations intervention have been discussed
throughout this paper. In the next several pages, each of the five possible reasons
for a peacekeeping mission will be addressed to determine their potential
significance in the Committees decision-making process. After that analysis, the
original hypothesis of this paper will be discussed to determine its accuracy. Lastly,
recommendations for further research and to the Committee on the Elimination of
Racial Discrimination will be made.
Although unexpected, the four case studies of Sierra Leone, Central African
Republic, Guatemala, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo provided a range
of reactions by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. In the
analysis of Sierra Leone, the Committee did not have much interest in either the
conflict or the racial discrimination occurring within the country. Most discussions
were limited to the lateness of country reports. In the case of the Central African
Republic, the Committee was slightly more interested in the racial discrimination
taking place, evidenced by completing independent research to monitor the
countrys situation. The Committee was very concerned about the racial
83


discrimination occurring in Guatemala, as indicated by the Committee placing the
country under the Early Warning and Urgent Procedure. However, in each of these
three cases, the Committee did not have as much involvement as it did in the case of
the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In the case of the Congo, not only did the
Committee place the country under the Early Warning and Urgent procedure, it also
recommended an intervention by the United Nations. Each case illustrated an
example on a continuum of Committee reactions ranging from very little response to
the greatest amount of action that can be proposed: recommending United Nations
intervention.
Additionally, to add to the contrast of these four cases, the first two
countries, Sierra Leone and Central African Republic, are two examples in which it
is understandable why the Committee did not recommend intervention. Both
countries were involved wars that were primarily politically or economically
motivated, rather than racially. Guatemala and Democratic Republic of the Congo,
on the other hand, both had strong racial components to their conflict. Therefore,
because of the extreme differences between the Committees reactions to racial
discrimination in these countries, the ability to analyze the Committees response
was greater.
The original question in this paper considered why decisions by the
Committee varied so greatly from country to country, especially when racial
discrimination was taking place in all of the countries. Therefore, five possible
84


factors were listed to determine if any one might be the cause for the Committee to
make a recommendation. The issues that were examined included:
1. The length of the conflict.
2. The number of fatalities that resulted from the war.
3. The extent that the war was clearly based on racial discrimination.
4. The degree the livelihood of the people was threatened because of racial
discrimination.
5. The status of country reports submitted.
The next paragraphs will discuss each factor in detail to determine if it could have
been a cause for intervention.
1. The length of conflict. In terms of if the length of the struggle affected
the Committees desire to recommend intervention, the four case studies
described above seem to answer that this was not a criterion. In Sierra
Leone, the countrys conflict lasted seven years. The struggle continued
for two years in the Central African Republic. In Guatemala, the country
remained in war for 36 years. Lastly, in the Democratic Republic of the
Congo, the conflict persisted for three years. Therefore, in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo, the country in which the Committee
did propose intervention, Sierra Leone and Guatemala had endured
internal conflict for four and 33 years, respectively, longer than the
Congo, and the Central African Republics war lasted for one year less
85


than the Congo. Consequently, the length of the struggle has not seemed
to play a role in the Committees decisions since the length of war was
longer in some countries and shorter in others when comparing the
duration to that of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
2. The number of fatalities that resulted from the war. In Sierra Leone, it
is estimated that 5,000-7,000 people died from the war. In the Central
African Republic, it was several thousand as well. Guatemala lost
approximately 200,000 people and the Democratic Republic of the
Congo had over a million fatalities. However, the differences between
these cases are the number of people who died from a racially based war,
which leaves only Guatemala and Democratic Republic of the Congo to
be examined. The two numbers, therefore, that need to be considered are
200,000 and more than one million.
This factor might be a strong reason for the Committee to
recommend intervention. The correlation between the Democratic
Republic of the Congo and Guatemala is strong considering people in
both countries experienced a large number of deaths. However, the
number of fatalities that are required to occur before the Committee
advocates intervention must be quite high if 200,000 Guatemalans died
and possibly tens of thousands were Mayan. Therefore, if the
86


Committee is to use the amount of deaths as a criterion for
recommending intervention, it must set its figure above tens of thousands
of people since intervention was not recommended in the case of
Guatemala. If it did establish the standard for the number of fatalities at
the tens of thousands mark, the Democratic Republic of the Congo
would still qualify for intervention.
3. The extent that the war was clearly based on racial discrimination. This
indicator may be an important factor in this analysis. In Sierra Leone,
the civil war was not targeted at a specific ethnic group; all people were
the victims of torture or death. Therefore, with the factors contributing
to the origination of this war and the conclusion that people of particular
racial groups were not pursued, one could argue that this war was
politically based. The same argument can be made for the Central
African Republic. Although racial discrimination was occurring, as in
the case of Sierra Leone, the conflict in the Central African Republic was
political. Specific ethnic groups were not being targeted for violence.
The case in Guatemala is not so clear. In this struggle, Mayans were
clearly targeted and killed on the basis of their ethnic identity. However,
the Mayans were not the only group pursued by the military and national
authorities. The general population including students, academics,
87


activists, authority figures, church members, and politicians were also at
risk. Therefore, it could be argued that in the cases of Sierra Leone and
the Central African Republic the conflicts were mostly political and did
not need intervention based on ethnic intolerance. The war in Guatemala
was not purely founded on racial discrimination and, for that reason,
interference was not needed in this case either. In the Democratic
Republic of the Congo, on the other hand, researchers agree that this war
was purely racial discrimination. Numerous documents refer to ethnic
cleansing by the Hutus and the Tutsis. Only in the Democratic of the
Congo in which people were fighting along racial lines was intervention
by the United Nations recommended. Therefore, based on this study, the
extent that the war was clearly based on racial discrimination could be a
very strong factor in the Committees decision-making process.
4. The degree the livelihood of the people was threatened because of racial
discrimination. In the case of Sierra Leone, the Krio and Lebanese have
been the recipients of resentment from the indigenous population.
Occasionally, the Lebanese have been subjected to acts of abuse.
However, members of these groups on average retain high-level jobs and
are part of Sierra Leones wealthy population. Therefore, if livelihood is
88


described in terms of economic well-being, then these people did not
have the need for a humanitarian intervention on their behalf.
In the Central African Republic, several groups were also the
recipients of racial discrimination. The Pygmies received lower wages
than the remainder of the population, while Muslims were resented for
their wealth and were targeted by the police. Additionally, the Muslims
had little representation in the government. Both groups, although on
opposite ends of the economic spectrum, were victims of resentment and
racial discrimination. If livelihood is depicted as economic well-being,
the Pygmies were suffering while the Muslims succeeded. But, if
livelihood is described socially or politically, the Muslims were in
distress as a result of racial intolerance. Therefore, only parts of these
peoples lives were being affected by discrimination.
The Mayans, in the case of Guatemala, did have their political,
social, and economic well-being threatened as a result of racial
discrimination. Government officials targeted these people, tortured, and
killed them because of their ethnicity. The extent to which they could
live their lives free from intimidation was minimal. Every aspect of their
lives, from living in their house, to walking on the street, to fighting for
their rights, was affected by racial discrimination.
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Lastly, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the two opponents,
the Hutus and the Tutsis, were killing each other because of racial
intolerance. Simply coming in contact with the rival ethnic group could
mean death. The social, political, and economic well-being of each
group was extremely affected. Racial tolerance did not exist in this war,
and consequently over a million people died from ethnic cleansing.
Therefore, it is possible that the extent of which a groups livelihood
is threatened because of racial discrimination is a large factor in the
decision making process by the Committee when recommending United
Nations intervention. It is clear that in the case of the Democratic
Republic of the Congo, the well-being of the general population was
most at risk. Although in each of the cases racial discrimination
unmistakably existed, only in the Congo were two ethnic groups at risk
of vanishing because of racial discrimination.
5. The status of country reports submitted. The lack of country reports as a
reason to not become involved with a countrys conflict was not a likely
reason explaining why the Committee did not become involved in the
conflict or advocate intervention. In the case of Sierra Leone, the
Committee felt hindered by the fact that the country had not submitted a
country report since 1974. Consequently, the Committee spent little time
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discussing the countrys status on the elimination of racial
discrimination. The Committee had also not received a submission by
the Central African Republic since 1984, which also limited the
knowledge of the Committee. However, after growing concerns
regarding reports of racial discrimination in the country, the Committee
gathered information independent of the states assistance. Because of
this action, the Committee was able to evaluate the countrys situation.
In the case of Guatemala, submissions of country reports by the state
party were not a concern as a result of adequate communication between
the Guatemalan officials and the Committee. A similar act to the Central
African Republic occurred in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The Committee had been receiving reports from the Congo; however,
they had been inadequate. Therefore, the Committee investigated the
matters on its own and eventually determined intervention was needed.
Therefore, it seems that the lack of country reports submitted as a factor
for the Committee to not become involved in the conflict is not a
supported hypothesis. The Committee will support members
investigation of state matters, independent of country reports.
Therefore, of the above stated criteria, the following three factors seem to be
the most likely to be included in the Committee on the Elimination of Racial
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Discriminations decision-making process when recommending intervention: the
number of fatalities that resulted from the war; the extent that the war was clearly
based on racial discrimination; and, the degree the livelihood of the people was
threatened because of racial discrimination. Although Guatemala came close, the
Democratic Republic of the Congo was the only country that meets all three of these
criteria. It had the highest number of fatalities, the war was undoubtedly based on
racial discrimination, and the existence of two ethnic groups was endangered, which
obviously was threatening the livelihood of those involved.
From examining these factors and concluding that three, whether
consciously or unconsciously, are the most likely to be involved in the Committees
decision-making process, the original hypothesis stated in this paper is incorrect.
The hypothesis of this thesis was stated as the following: The Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination will only recommend humanitarian
intervention by the United Nations in cases where a large number of people, such as
tens of thousands, are dying because of a racially based conflict. This hypothesis
has been proven false by the case studies of Sierra Leone, Central African Republic,
Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Guatemala.
In terms of the number of fatalities from conflict, my hypothesis stated that
large numbers of people, such as tens of thousands, must die from a racially based
war in order for the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to
advocate United Nations Intervention. In the case of Sierra Leone, 5,000 to 7,000
92


people died as a result of a political rather than racial conflict. The Revolutionary
United Front was not targeting a specific ethnic group; rather it was inflicting harm
on anyone in its path. In the Central African Republic, several thousand people also
died as a result of a political struggle, rather than an ethnic war. The rebellion in
this country was the result of salary arrears, poor living conditions, and the desire to
overthrow the government. Although racial discrimination was occurring, ethnic
groups were not being targeted during this conflict. In the case of Guatemala,
almost 200,000 people died, many of which were of Mayan ancestry. The Mayans,
as well as other members in the community, were specifically targeted as
subversives. However, the number of fatalities in the Democratic Republic of the
Congo reached over a million, as a direct result of racial discrimination. Ethnic
groups were targeting each other during the war.
Therefore, it is too simple to say that a large number of people must die,
such as tens of thousands, in order for the Committee to intervene. During the war
in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, tens of thousands of people died as a
result of an ethnic cleansing campaign and the Committee urged intervention by the
United Nations. However, in the case of Guatemala, tens of thousands of Mayans
also died as a result of racial discrimination. However, the Committee did not
recommend intervention by the United Nations in this case. The explanation in the
case of Guatemala as to why the Committee did not recommend intervention,
according to the analysis of the five factors above, is that the conflict was not solely
93