Human Rights &
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Adopted UN General Assembly
Resolution 2200 A (XXI) on 16 December 1966
Entry into force 23 March 1976 in accordance with
State Parties to the Optional Protocol
The First Optional Protocol to the Covenant provides for the
confidential consideration of communications from individuals who claim to
be victims of a violation of any of the rights proclaimed in the Covenant.
No communications can be received by the Human Rights Committee if it
concerns a State party to the Covenant that is not also a party to the
Optional Protocol. The Human Rights Committee was established to monitor the
implementation of the Covenant and its related Protocols on the territory of
the States parties.
The States Parties to the present Covenant,
Considering that in order further to achieve the purposes of the Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights (hereinafter referred to as the Covenant) and the
implementations of its provisions it would be appropriate to enable the Human
Rights Committee set up in part IV of the Covenant (hereinafter referred to as
the Committee) to receive and consider, as provided in the present Protocol,
communications from individuals claiming to be victims of violations of any of
the rights set forth in the Covenant.
Have agreed as follows:
A State Party to the Covenant that becomes a party to the
present Protocol recognizes the competence of the Committee to receive and
consider communications from individuals subject to its jurisdiction who
claim to have been victims of a violation by that State Party of any of the
rights set forth in the Covenant. No communication shall be received by the
Committee if it concerns a State Party to the Covenant which is not a party
to the present Protocol.
Subject to the provisions of article 1, individuals who
claim that any of their rights enumerated in the Covenant have been violated
and who have exhausted all available domestic remedies may submit a written
communication to the Committee for consideration.
The Committee shall consider inadmissible any communication
under the present Protocol which is anonymous, or which it considers to be
an abuse of the right of submission of such communications or to be
incompatible with the provisions of the Covenant.
(1) Subject to the provisions of article 3, the Committee
shall bring any communications submitted to it under the present Protocol to
the attention of the State Party to the present Protocol alleged to be
violating any provisions of the Covenant.
(2) Within six months, the receiving State shall submit to the Committee
written explanations or statements clarifying the matter and the remedy, if
any, that may have been taken by that State.
(1) The Committee shall consider communications received
under the present Protocol in the light of all written information made
available to it by the individual and by the State Party concerned.
(2) The Committee shall not consider any communication from an individual
unless it has ascertained that:
(a) The same matter is not being examined under another procedure of
international investigation or settlement;
(b) The individual has exhausted all domestic remedies. This shall not be
the rule where the applications of the remedies is unreasonably prolonged.
(3) The Committee shall hold closed meetings when examining communications
under the present Protocol.
(4) The Committee shall forward its views to the State Party concerned and
The Committee shall include in its annual report under
article 45 of the Covenant a summary of its activities under the present
Pending the achievement of the objectives of resolution
1514 (XV) adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 14
December 1960 concerning the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to
Colonial Countries and Peoples, the provisions of the present Protocol shall
in no way limit the right of petition granted to these peoples by the
Charter of the United Nations and other international conventions and
instruments under the United Nations and its specialized agencies.
(1) The present Covenant is open for signature by any State
which has signed the Covenant.
(2) The present Protocol is subject to ratification by any State which has
ratified or acceded to the Covenant. Instruments of ratification shall be
deposited with the Secretary General of the United Nations.
(3) The present Protocol shall be open to accession by any State which has
ratified or acceded to the Covenant.
(4) Accession shall be effected by the deposit of an instrument of
accession with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
(5) The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall inform all States
which have signed the present Protocol or acceded to it of the deposit of
each instrument of ratification or accession.
(1) Subject to the
entry into force of the Covenant, the present Protocol shall enter into
force three months after the date of the deposit with the Secretary-General
of the United Nations of the tenth instrument of ratification or instrument
(2) For each State ratifying the present Protocol or acceding to it after
the deposit of the tenth instrument of ratification or instrument of
accession, the present Covenant shall enter into force three months after
the date of the deposit of its own instrument of ratification or instrument
The provisions of the present Protocol shall extend to all
parts of federal States without limitations or expectations.
(1) Any State Party to the present Protocol may propose an
amendment and file it with the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The
Secretary-General of the United Nations shall thereupon communicate any
proposed amendments to the States Parties to the present Protocol with a
request that they notify him whether they favour a conference of States
Parties for the purpose of considering and voting upon the proposals. In the
event that at least one third of all States Parties favours such a
conference, the Secretary-General shall convene the conference under the
auspices of the United Nations. Any amendments adopted by a majority of the
States Parties present and voting at the conference shall be submitted to
the General Assembly of the United Nations for approval.
(2) Amendments shall come into force when they have been approved by the
General Assembly of the United Nations and accepted by a two-thirds majority
of the States Parties to the present Protocol in accordance with their
respective constitutional processes.
(3) When amendments come into force, they shall be binding on those States
Parties which have accepted them, other States Parties still being bound by
the provisions of the present Protocol and earlier amendments which they
(1) Any State Party may denounce the present Protocol at
any time by written notification addressed to the Secretary-General of the
United Nations. Denunciation shall take effect three months after the date
of receipt of the notification by the Secretary-General.
(2) Denunciation shall be without prejudice to the continued application of
the provisions of the present Protocol to any communication submitted under
article 3 before the effective date of the denunciation.
Irrespective of the notifications made under article 8,
paragraph 5, the Secretary-General of the United Nations shall inform all
States referred to in article 48, paragraph 1 of the Covenant of the
(a) Signatures, ratifications and accessions under article 8;
(b) The date of the entry into force of the present Protocol under article
9 and the date of entry into force of any amendments under article 11;
(c) Denunciation under article 12.
(1) The present Protocol, of which the Chinese, English,
French, Russian and Spanish texts are equally authentic, shall be deposited
in the archives of the United Nations.
(2) The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall transmit certified
copies of the present Protocol to all States referred to in article 48 of
95 States are
parties to the Optional Protocol as at April 1999
Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belarus,
Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Burkina
Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile,
Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech
Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Dominican
Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Finland,
France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, and Guinea.
Also Guyana, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia,
Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi,
Malta, Mauritius, Mongolia, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New
Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru,
Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian
Federation, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Senegal,
Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, Spain, Sri
Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Tajikistan, The Former Yugoslav Republic of
Macedonia, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine,
Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Zambia.