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International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
New York, 1966
Core Treaties  
Treaties you might not expect  


  The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights defends the fundamental right to life, and says that no one can be tortured, enslaved, arbitrarily imprisoned, made to do forced labor, or be restricted from such basic freedoms as movement, expression and association.

Key Provisions

  The Covenant is divided into six parts as follows:

  1. reaffirms the right of self-determination
  2. formulates countries' general obligations, mainly to put the Covenant into effect as law, to give victims effective remedies and to guarantee gender equality; it also restricts the possibility of verbal or written abuse
  3. spells out the classical civil and political rights, including
    • the right to life
    • the prohibition of torture
    • the right to liberty and security of person
    • the right to freedom of movement
    • the right to a fair hearing
    • the right to privacy
    • the right to freedom of religion, expression, and peaceful assembly
    • the right to family life
    • the rights of children to special protection
    • the right to participate in the conduct of public affairs
    • the over-arching right to equal treatment, and
    • the special rights of members of ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities
  4. regulates the election of members of the Human Rights Committee, the State reporting procedure and the inter-State complaints mechanism
  5. says that nothing in the Covenant should be understood as infringing on the inherent right of all peoples to enjoy and fully use their natural resources
  6. provides that the Covenant shall extend to all parts of federal States and sets out the amendment procedure.

The Covenant is not subject to denunciation.

The "International Bill of Human Rights"

1. International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

2. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

3. Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

4. Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty

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