International Convention on

the Elimination

of all Forms of

Racial Discrimination




16 August 2000

Original: ENGLISH


Fifty-seventh session


Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva,

on Wednesday, 9 August 2000, at 10 a.m.

Chairman: Mr. SHERIFIS



Thirteenth and fourteenth periodic reports of the Netherlands (continued)

Draft concluding observations concerning the fifteenth periodic report of Finland

The meeting was called to order at 10 a.m.


Thirteenth and fourteenth periodic reports of the Netherlands (continued) (CERD/C/362/Add.4; HRI/CORE/1/Add.66, 67 and 68)

At the invitation of the Chairman, the members of the delegation of the Netherlands resumed their places at the Committee table.

Mr. POTMAN (Netherlands), after distributing additional written information about Aruba to the members of the Committee, said, with regard to the relationship between the Netherlands (the European part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands) and the Netherlands Antilles, that, under the 1954 Charter of the Kingdom, the three co-equal partners that formed the Kingdom were autonomous and self-governing and could implement international treaties directly. The Charter contained a specific provision about solidarity between the three partners and, indeed, 30 million Netherlands guilder a year were allocated to the Netherlands Antilles, 25 million of which went directly to local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) involved in poverty reduction; billions more in direct support were in the pipeline if the reconstruction plan submitted to overcome its current financial crisis was approved by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). As it was, government support was at a level that barred official development assistance (ODA), and the situation was therefore not critical.

It should not be assumed that racism lay behind every policy move of a Government. Legitimate concerns had been expressed by members regarding the Netherlands aliens policy, and they were shared by the Government. There was a difference, however, between racially‑biased policies and those based on the right of a State to distinguish between nationals and non-nationals, a principle reflected in articles 1 and 2 of the Convention as well.

As to cooperation with NGOs in the preparation of periodic reports, which was regarded as very important, his Government preferred to draft the report itself and distribute it to NGOs, which could then criticize it and supply further information. The delegation had, in fact, met representatives of NGOs before leaving. The periodic reports and the Committee’s recommendations on them were sent to Parliament and to NGOs and published on the Internet, and in the future might also be put on the Foreign Ministry’s own Web site.

Ms. van DOOREN (Netherlands) said that the Government was currently evaluating the performance of the Equal Treatment Commission and also studying the implications of recent affirmative action court cases, in conjunction with the affirmative action provisions of the Council of Europe directive against racism and discrimination. Any exception to the rule of equal treatment needed careful formulation. The next report would discuss the outcome of the Government’s discussions.

NGOs active in combating racism were doing valuable work: they played an important role by directing complainants to the Equal Treatment Commission, raising public awareness, organizing education projects and police training sessions, helping businesses draw up codes of conduct, and giving feedback and suggestions to the Government.

While the Ministry of Urban Policies and Integration of Ethnic Minorities coordinated the integration policy and activities of other ministries, it was not responsible for the special budget for the integration of ethnic minorities. A special budget report currently being developed showed the amount spent on integration by the various ministries, to be annexed to the report on the integration of ethnic minorities submitted to Parliament. The groups targeted by the Government’s integration policy were the same as those identified by the Ministry in 1983; Surinamese Antilleans, Arubans, Turks, Moroccans and refugees were included for special treatment because of their socio-economic problems, while Moluccans were included because their political situation required regular meetings of their representatives with the Ministry.

The Netherlands had only a very small population of “caravan-dwellers” or Roma. Because of their mobility, they were better served by delegating authority to administer government policies to the municipal authorities, which had to provide free caravan stands equipped with electricity, gas, water and sewage disposal, which met building and housing regulations.

Although the figures for voter turn-out among ethnic minorities during the 1998 municipal elections had declined since 1994, the two sets of statistics had been collected on different bases and were not comparable, and indeed the lower turn-out reflected that of the population as a whole, voting not being compulsory in the Netherlands.

In the 1998 national and local elections, extreme-right political parties had lost all seats in Parliament and the municipal councils. Furthermore, the 1999 Act on Subsidizing Political Parties now made it possible to exclude parties that had been sentenced for racist acts from government grants and broadcast time on public television, a democratic way of fighting them. The prohibition of a political party was a legal remedy that had to be applied with restraint because of possible conflicts with freedom of speech and association, which, nonetheless, had limits. The Centrum Partij 86 had been disbanded because the party and its leaders had engaged in activities aimed at inciting or promoting discrimination against ethnic minorities. Other parties like the Centrum Democraten operated more carefully, using propaganda in a way that did not disturb the public order. All such parties, however, were being watched by the Government and the Office of the Public Prosecution Service, and any necessary action would be taken. Recently, two leaders of an extreme right-wing political party had been convicted for inciting to racist violence on the Internet, and a municipal councillor had been convicted on similar grounds. Another way of eliminating racial discrimination would be prevention by education and by raising public awareness.

The Government’s housing policy precluded any form of forced housing, being predicated on the freedom of people to move and live wherever they wished. In practice, of course, the lower economic status of ethnic minorities compelled them to live in low-rent neighbourhoods, usually older urban ones. Cultural factors also played a role in that ethnic minorities often wished to live in neighbourhoods with other members of their own ethnic group, thus creating a de facto segregation; on the other hand, minorities also changed domicile more frequently than the rest of the population, sometimes moving to better neighbourhoods. For over a decade, as part of the master plan of the Ministry of Urban Policy and Integration of Minorities dealing with the urban problems of the 25 largest cities in the Netherlands, mixed middle-income and lower-income housing developments had been built, or whole older neighbourhoods had been renovated as a way of attracting a more diverse population. The statistics published by an anti-discrimination association showed that 6 per cent of the complaints brought to it had related to racial discrimination in housing.

It was true that more police officers from ethnic minorities left the force than those from other segments of the population, in part because of the language problem and in part because of a police culture in which they were outsiders and the butt of remarks. Retaining minority police officers had become a priority, and special police training was being provided in multiculturalism within and outside the force and in awareness of discriminatory behaviour. A major study on the police culture would be completed by the end of the year, and consideration was being given to establishing a National Discrimination Expertise Centre for the police force, patterned on the one within the Office of the Public Prosecution Service. Until recently, instances of alleged discrimination by police officers had been registered manually and the statistics were therefore incomplete and unreliable. The Racism and Right-Wing Extremism Monitor had now begun to provide more reliable information and both the governmental and non-governmental bodies involved had begun to computerize registration. More information on those developments and on cases brought to trial would be provided in the next report.

Ms. LING KET ON (Netherlands) said that the Reporting Centre for Discrimination on the Internet (MDI) had proved to be an effective weapon in combating racism and was fully subsidized by the Government. The Centre’s activities had been fully described in the shadow report provided by the National Bureau Against Racism (LBR), an NGO. The Centre itself had published its working methods and up-to-date facts in English on its Web site. The number of complaints submitted to the MDI was rising, partly because of increased use of the Internet and because of the MDI’s greater visibility. The relative anonymity of the Internet attracted many racist groups or individuals. The exact number of racist Web sites and news groups in the Netherlands was not known at the moment, but the MDI annual report indicated 170 discriminatory entries on Dutch language Web sites in 1999, not to speak of such entries in chat rooms. The Council of Europe was organizing a conference on combating racism in October 2000, and the Netherlands had proposed that a working group should deal with racism on the Internet.

Ms. van ECK (Netherlands), referring to the Government’s policy on immigration and aliens, said that residence permits were issued on the basis of international obligations, humanitarian reasons or vital Netherlands interests. The aliens policy was restrictive in general, but not the asylum policy, in compliance with the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees: all persons needing international protection were granted asylum by the Government. Undocumented asylum‑seekers created major difficulties in verifying identity, nationality and reasons for requesting asylum. Indeed, in 1997 over 70 per cent had had no identification papers at all. The latest 1999 amendment to the Aliens Act allowed the Immigration and Naturalization Service, as a general policy, to reject a request if the person was unable to produce any document at all. However, the grounds for the request were always examined, and undocumented asylum‑seekers were always given an opportunity to justify the lack of documents.

The 1998 Interlinkage Act linked the entitlements of aliens to legal residence, which meant that non‑residents were excluded from a number of social security benefits, although an exception was made for illegal migrants, who received all necessary medical treatment, education for their children and free legal aid.

On the question of family reunification, a condition for the admission of relatives of all aliens other than citizens and recognized refugees was the availability of sufficient housing, although that condition would be abolished under the new Aliens Act currently before Parliament. DNA tests to prove family relationship were not obligatory. Aliens needed only show plausibly that the family ties existed by means of interviews or birth or marriage certificates. If such documents were lacking, a voluntary DNA test was offered and the Government reimbursed the cost if the family ties proved plausible. Under the new Aliens Act there was indeed no right of higher appeal against decisions on detention with a view to expulsion, although a court in reaching its decision had to assess its lawfulness and proportionality; such a full review was preferable to a lengthy appeals procedure.

The 1994 Compulsory Identification Act was still in force but, as was indicated in the report (CERD/C/362/Add.4, para. 107), there was no evidence to suggest that the police or the military had acted in a discriminatory way.

The Government’s aim in streamlining its asylum‑seekers procedure was to limit the time spent waiting for a decision. Under the new Aliens Act, persons needing protection because of international obligations or humanitarian reasons would be granted a three‑year residence permit, with all the rights and benefits up to the level of those granted by the 1951 Geneva Convention, namely the right to work, to receive social security benefits and medical care.

Under the Schengen Implementation Agreement and the current Aliens Act, the Government had the right to insist that carriers check the validity of passengers’ documents. Under parliamentary guidelines containing instructions to carriers, persons not adequately documented claiming to be refugees were referred to the Netherlands Government if they were in their country of origin, whereas persons in a third country were referred either to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) or to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) or, in emergencies, to the Immigration and Naturalization Service; after which a decision would be reached as to whether they would be allowed to travel to the Netherlands.

Mr. STEGEMAN (Netherlands) said that the role of education in constructing and maintaining a truly multicultural and tolerant society was of paramount importance. The Committee’s concerns regarding apparent segregation in education were understandable but appeared to be founded partially on incorrect assumptions about governmental policies. Reference had been made to paragraphs 161‑166 of the report, especially in relation to segregation, and to a choice facing the Government of setting up either schools designed predominantly for ethnic minorities or varied multicultural schools. However, by combining freedom of education with equality of funding for all schools, the Netherlands, in fact guaranteed a high level of education for all pupils, irrespective of their ethnic origin. Schools were free to vary their curricula, within the requisite quality criteria, just as pupils were able to attend the schools of their parents’ choice. In that sense, the choice lay with parents and pupils rather than with the Government. Similarly, the initiative of municipal authorities in the Netherlands to stimulate more equal distribution of pupils from the national majority and minority groups was considered to be a positive effort towards enhancing the accessibility of the education system and reducing undesirable side effects.

The Government accepted responsibility for guaranteeing, within the variety of a free education system, the kind of quality which helped both indigenous and non‑indigenous pupils to develop their talents to the greatest extent possible. There was no evidence that ethnic diversity in schools inhibited pupils’ performance. Although evaluation results did not clearly determine the effectiveness of schools frequented predominantly by minorities, that should not obscure the reality that, although pupils from minority groups did not yet perform as well as those of the indigenous population, they did significantly better than pupils from minority groups in a number of other comparable countries. They were increasingly better prepared for their life in the Netherlands, since there was a clearly discernible rise in the level of school performance between generations of pupils.

By contrast, the participation of minorities in higher education still left much to be desired. The situation was, however, improving thanks to the efforts of the Expertise Centre for Ethnic Minorities in Higher Education (ECHO). That organization exemplified the role of the Netherlands non‑governmental partners in helping to make education more accessible to minorities and more effective in offering equal opportunities. During the period 1995‑1999, ECHO had succeeded in placing the concept of a “minority policy” on the agenda of higher education institutions and would follow that up in the period 2000‑2003.

Provision had long been made for minorities to be educated in their own languages and there was an increasing awareness of the importance of providing truly intercultural education, aimed at both minority pupils and those from the indigenous population. Not only would intercultural education help to prepare pupils for life in an intercultural society, but it would also assist in combating discrimination both in education and in society in general.

Ms. STAAL (Netherlands), referring to the question of protection against labour‑market discrimination, particularly in the case of dismissal, said that the position of ethnic minorities was protected by the Equal Treatment Act under which discrimination on the grounds of race or ethnic origin was forbidden. In cases of group dismissals, employment board managers were required to avoid discrimination against groups with a “weaker” position on the labour market when deciding on requests from employers for authorization to dismiss employees. The question of protection against dismissal had been included in a survey carried out by a specially appointed committee, the results of which were expected in the second half of the year.

Several research projects were being carried out on discrimination against ethnic minorities as a cause of their higher unemployment rate. It had also been assumed that such discrimination meant that ethnic minorities were more often employed in temporary jobs and were more often dismissed. However, no statistical data were available to support or refute that assumption. It had, however, been ascertained that the outflow of ethnic minorities from employment stood at 20 per cent, 15 per cent of which was caused by dismissal, as against a 13 per cent outflow of indigenous people, with 13 per cent caused by dismissal. No precise information was available on whether dismissals were a result of discrimination, or on whether ethnic minority groups in temporary employment were more frequently affected by unemployment after completing their assignments. Nevertheless, the issue would be included in an evaluation of the Flexibility and Security Act that was due to be conducted at the end of 2001.

Committee members had noted that there was great scope within labour‑market policy for self‑regulation, for example by means of cooperation with social partners, and had raised the question of the absence of penalties. In that regard, the Government had subscribed to a parliamentary motion proposing that, if efforts to improve the Employment of Minorities (Promotion) Act (Wet SAMEN) and the intercultural human resources policy in enterprises failed, the possibility of incorporating effective sanctions into the Act would be given serious consideration. Meanwhile, however, attempts were being made to improve implementation of the Act by means of promotional activities, and the provision of information and support.

Regarding the privatization of the Women and Minorities Employment Bureau, the process had been spread over a two‑year period during which the Government’s financial contribution to the Bureau had been gradually reduced so as to allow it to conduct sufficient research projects to become financially independent. Despite government efforts to the contrary, the privatization process had been unsuccessful.

With reference to the AISA project (report, para. 39), launched in 1994 to assist black, migrant and refugee women in their efforts to achieve equal opportunities, the principles incorporated in the slogan “equality - experts in gender and ethnicity” had conditioned the make‑up of the organization’s board and staff. The Government provided the organization with a substantial annual subsidy.

With respect to the position of ethnic minorities on the labour market, it had been asked what corrective measures had been taken to increase the number of employers implementing the Act Governing the Promotion of Proportional Participation in the Employment Market for Immigrants. The Act had in fact been replaced by the Employment of Minorities (Promotion) Act as of 1 January 1998. An initial evaluation of the new Act indicated a somewhat positive effect on the employment of ethnic minorities, as could be seen, for example, in the increasing number of annual reports issued by employers.

Although the unemployment rate had decreased in recent years, the number of people from ethnic minorities out of work was still four times higher than the overall rate. The Government had therefore adopted an action plan aimed at reducing the existing difference by 50 per cent in the period 1998‑2002. The action plan had been submitted to Parliament in June 2000 and contained the response to the recommendations of the task force on ethnic minorities and labour market and the Social Economic Council, and the first evaluation of the Employment of Minorities (Promotion) Act. Among the main aspects of the action plan were the provision of additional information to employers concerning compliance with the Act, further assistance to employers through expansion of the national Samen Act Helpdesk established in 1998 and extension of the period of validity of the Act by two years up to and including 2003. Social partners had agreed to improve their compliance with the Act. Two agreements had been reached by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment and the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, one with small and medium‑sized companies and the Central Manpower Services Board (CBA) for the creation of 20,000 jobs for ethnic minorities, and the other for similar job creation with 14 large companies. A Project Support Team would also be established within the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment to assist the companies with any difficulties they might encounter.

On the subject of the immigration of aliens for the purpose of entering the national labour market, the Aliens Employment Act provided for the employment of foreign nationals who did not already have access to the labour market for other reasons, including asylum or family reunification. All foreign nationals required a work permit for which the employer applied, and it must be acquired prior to commencement of the recruitment procedure. The guiding principle of the Aliens Employment Act was that if priority labour, i.e. nationals of the Netherlands, other States members of the European Union or European Economic Area, or other foreigners with free access to the labour market, was available, an employment permit would be refused. By contrast, foreign nationals who possessed an employment and a residence permit for an uninterrupted period of three years, and who had not established their main residence outside the Netherlands by the end of that period, had free access to the labour market. At the end of the period, they would no longer require a permit. Likewise, foreign nationals admitted to the Netherlands with permanent leave to remain, including those with a residence permit, refugees and foreign partners of persons with free access to the labour market, were immediately given the opportunity to find work.

The Aliens Employment Act was more liberal than its predecessor, which had already been considered satisfactory by the Committee of Independent Experts of the European Social Charter, article 18 (3) of which stipulated that Contracting Parties to the Charter undertook to liberalize regulations governing the employment of foreign workers.

Finally, it should be emphasized that, since an application must be made for a work permit prior to the beginning of the recruitment procedure, the race or national origin of an individual worker could not play a role in that procedure. The criteria for entry into the labour market related solely to nationality and residence status and, in that regard, the practical application of the Convention in the Netherlands was in no way discriminatory.

Mr. POTMAN (Netherlands), after distributing a series of written responses to questions on health care, said with reference to the armed forces that the Ministry of Defence attached great importance to combating racism and right‑wing extremism. Ethnic minority groups had been targeted in recruitment campaigns and currently constituted 7.4 per cent of the total. A special policy had been established to promote active discrimination and counsellors appointed to facilitate the integration of ethnic minorities, including by means of special language training. There was no indication that either racism or discrimination were responsible for the outflow of ethnic minorities from the armed forces. Measures to combat that phenomenon included the provision of information during training, a code of conduct within the Royal Armed Forces and

the possibility of lodging complaints relating to racial discrimination anonymously. In similar vein, a special complaints information system would be set up to register complaints and penalties could be imposed by means of disciplinary, administrative or penal law. All the complaints made were thoroughly investigated.

Mr. BRYDE (Country Rapporteur) said that the Netherlands delegation had provided precise responses to almost all the questions asked. The organization of answers to questions on the Netherlands Antilles was not, however, completely satisfactory and, in the light of the relevant international obligations the responses should be made available.

The Committee had noted the answers provided on the treatment of aliens and refugees in relation to compliance with article 1 of the Convention. It acknowledged that it was difficult to comply with article 1 and simultaneously to monitor whether alien or refugee policies gave rise to de facto discrimination.

Despite the very comprehensive responses given, more information was required on the evaluation of the Equal Treatment Commission, the future of affirmative action in the light of the relevant European Union Directive and the outcome of discussions on the setting up of a police monitoring structure to mirror that of the public prosecution service. More details would also be appreciated on the future of the employment action plan. That being said, the dialogue conducted had been fruitful and constructive; particularly commendable was the acknowledgement by the delegation of problems within the national police culture.

Mr. POTMAN (Netherlands) expressed his appreciation of the Committee’s analysis of the report and its indications as to which areas required further attention. Most of the problem areas highlighted were known to the Government and it was useful to focus on those problems in order to generate fresh impetus. NGOs were to be commended for their preparation of shadow reports and the information they had given to the Committee.

Referring to a question raised by Mr. Aboul‑Nasr as to whether the Government had ever considered initiating a complaints procedure under article 11 of the Convention, he said that it was difficult to provide a definite answer. To the delegation’s knowledge, the Netherlands had not used such a procedure in the past but could not preclude considering it in the future, since it was available, although there were other, perhaps preferable, ways of dealing with concerns relating to article 11.

The situation in the Netherlands was characterized by the fact that indeed “racism was everywhere” but also that countervailing forces existed in society to combat that phenomenon. The Netherlands would continue its work to eliminate racial discrimination in the spirit of the Convention by providing the Committee with an insight into its efforts. It looked forward to receiving the Committee’s concluding observations.

The CHAIRMAN said that the responses provided by the Netherlands had been detailed and comprehensive, and the dialogue conducted both fruitful and constructive. The Committee looked forward to receiving subsequent reports.

The public part of the meeting was suspended at 11.30 a.m. and resumed at 12.20 p.m.

Draft concluding observations concerning the fifteenth periodic report of Finland (CERD/C/57/Misc.15/Rev.2, future CERD/C/57/CRP…)

The CHAIRMAN invited the Committee to consider the draft concluding observations on the fifteenth periodic report of Finland. (CERD/C/57/Misc.15/Rev.2, future CERD/C/57/CRP…).

Paragraphs 1 to 7

Paragraphs 1 to 7 were adopted.

Paragraph 8

Mr. BOSSUYT suggested that the words “with concern” in the first line could be deleted, since the paragraph was included under the general heading of concerns and recommendations and in any case there was in fact no unified terminology in discrimination-related matters in the relevant international instruments.

Paragraph 8, as amended, was adopted.

Paragraph 9

Mr. DIACONU (Country Rapporteur) suggested that the words “and punishing” in line 2 should be deleted because, generally speaking, organizations were not punished.

Mr. FALL said that some sanctions could be taken against organizations in the area of civil law and he believed that some notion of punishing or sanctioning should be retained.

Mr. DIACONU (Country Rapporteur) observed that the Convention simply provided for the prohibition of racist organizations, not for any type of punishment.

Mr. BOSSUYT agreed with Mr. Diaconu; “prohibiting” incorporated the notion of punishment under civil law.

Mr. SHAHI said that, while he understood Mr. Fall’s concern about retaining the notion of punishment, he had doubts about the use of the word “sanction”, which could also mean “approve”, and would not object if the Committee wished to amend the paragraph as suggested by the Country Rapporteur. He also wished to make it clear that the words “increasing sentences” in line 8 meant “punishing more severely”.

Mr. NOBEL supported the amendment suggested by Mr. Diaconu; the word “sanctioning” could be misunderstood.

Mr. RECHETOV pointed out that an organization could receive a warning or series of warnings before being prohibited or banned and said he would like the paragraph to retain some notion of punishment; however, he would not oppose the amendment suggested by Mr. Diaconu.

Mr. FALL withdrew his objection and said he would support the amendment proposed by the Country Rapporteur.

Paragraph 19, as amended, was adopted.

Paragraph 10

Mr. DIACONU (Country Rapporteur) suggested that the words “and confronted with difficulties” should be deleted from the second line.

Mr. BOSSUYT said that, in lines 1 and 2, he would prefer to delete “subjected to discrimination and” and retain “confronted with difficulties”.

Mr. PILLAI pointed out that the first sentence referred to “the fact that” and the second to “reports that” and suggested that, for the sake of consistency, either “fact” or “reports” should be used in both sentences.

Ms. JANUARY-BARDILL, supported by Mr. NOBEL, said she believed that it was important, given the Committee’s mandate, to retain the reference to discrimination.

Mr. DIACONU (Country Rapporteur) suggested that lines 1 and 2 should be amended to read: “The Committee is concerned about reports that the Roma continue to experience discrimination in the fields of housing,”.

Ms. ZOU Deci said she preferred “the fact” to be retained in line 1, since there had been cases of discrimination.

Mr. BOSSUYT said he felt that “discrimination” was too strong a word, because the situation in Finland did not seem nearly as grave as that in some other countries whose reports the Committee had considered.

Mr. NOBEL observed that the Committee was not in the habit of comparing the situation in different countries, but rather assessing whether progress had been made in a country since its previous report.

Mr. DIACONU (Country Rapporteur) recalled that the Committee did in fact rely on reports for much of its information, as was indicated in the second sentence of the paragraph.

The CHAIRMAN suggested that neither “reports” nor “the fact” should be mentioned; the paragraph would therefore begin: “The Committee is concerned that …”.

Mr. RECHETOV agreed with that suggestion and said that reference to “reports” in fact weakened the message to be conveyed. He also agreed that it was unfair to compare the situation in Finland with other countries where independence and democracy were recent phenomena.

Paragraph 10, as amended, was adopted.

Paragraph 11

Mr. BOSSUYT suggested that, in line 1, the words “reiterates its regret” should be replaced by “regrets that”.

Paragraph 11, as amended, was adopted.

Paragraph 12

Mr. BOSSUYT suggested replacing “would” by “could” in line 2.

Mr. PILLAI, supported by Mr. DIACONU (Country Rapporteur), said that, since the first line read “in some cases”, the word “would” could be retained.

Paragraph 12 was adopted.

Paragraph 13

Mr. DIACONU (Country Rapporteur) said that in line 9, the word “when” should be replaced by “where”.

Paragraph 13, as amended, was adopted.

Paragraph 14

Mr. DIACONU (Country Rapporteur) suggested that, in lines 2 to 3, the words “difficulties for housing […] school drop-out” should be replaced by “have difficulty in gaining access to housing and social services and experience higher rates of school drop-out”.

Mr. NOBEL suggested replacing “experience” by “have”.

Paragraph 14, as amended, was adopted.

Paragraph 15

Paragraph 15 was adopted.

Paragraph 16

Mr. DIACONU (Country Rapporteur) suggested that, in line 2, the word “high” should be replaced by “significant” and that, in line 3, the words “are opposed to the practice of Islam by immigrants (refugees) who are Muslim; it notes also” should be inserted between “and” and “that media”.

Mr. BOSSUYT said that the words “who are Muslim” were redundant and could be deleted.

Mr. SHAHI recalled that the Convention referred specifically to racial and ethnic discrimination, not religious discrimination; however, he would not oppose the amendment.

Paragraph 16, as amended, was adopted.

Paragraph 17

Mr. NOBEL suggested that, in line 2, the word “post” should be replaced by “Office”.

Paragraph 17, as amended, was adopted.

Paragraph 18

Ms. ZOU Deci, supported by Mr. DIACONU (Country Rapporteur), said that, in lines 2 to 3, the words “the summary records” could be deleted.

Mr. RECHETOV, agreeing with the two previous speakers, said he could accept the second sentence referring to the communications procedure under article 14 provided it was in accordance with the Committee’s procedure in dealing with individual communications.

The CHAIRMAN recalled that it was the Committee’s practice to recommend that States parties should take measures to increase awareness of the provisions of the Convention, the contents of the periodic reports and the Committee’s concluding observations.

Mr. DIACONU (Country Rapporteur) said that, especially in developed countries which had made the relevant declaration under article 14, it was worthwhile encouraging measures to publicize the procedure under that article. In the case of Finland, for example, the fact that no complaints had been received was perhaps because the general public was not aware of the procedure; complaints had been received under article 14 from other Nordic countries.

Paragraph 18, as amended, was adopted.

Mr. FALL said he shared the concern expressed by Mr. RECHETOV. Although he supported increasing awareness of the provisions of article 14 within States parties, he was against putting too much pressure on States that had accepted the procedure. To his recollection, it was not the Committee’s practice to include such a sentence in its concluding observations.

The CHAIRMAN said that Mr. Fall’s concern would be reflected in the summary record.

Paragraph 19

Paragraph 19 was adopted.

The draft concluding observations concerning the fifteenth periodic report of Finland as a whole, as amended, were adopted.

The public part of the meeting rose at 1.10 p.m.