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

Objectives

  For countries that have adopted the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, this first Optional Protocol to the Covenant gives the option of recognizing the Human Rights Committee as qualified to receive and examine communication from individual people. When people or groups of people have exhausted local remedies, the Protocol allows them to petition the Committee directly about their governmentís alleged violations of the Covenant.

Key Provisions

  Because the Human Rights Committee's final decisions are not binding legal judgements, according to the Optional Protocol they are called "Views." The Committee has concluded over a third of the 900+ registered cases by the adoption of these Views, and found violations of the Covenant in 261 of the cases. And even though these Views are not binding, as a direct result of them countries have commuted death sentences, released prisoners, compensated victims and changed legislation. The Committee has also established a follow-up procedure, and visits countries to help them implement the Committee's Views.

  More and more often the Human Rights Committee's case-law under the Optional Protocol is quoted by national and international tribunals. It has also aroused a lot of interest in the academic community, since it constitutes the concretization of human rights in individual cases.


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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