Monitoring civil and political rights

The Human Rights Committee is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by its State parties.

All States parties are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee on how the rights are being implemented. States must report initially one year after acceding to the Covenant and then whenever the Committee requests (usually every four years). The Committee examines each report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the State party in the form of "concluding observations”.

In addition to the reporting procedure, article 41 of the Covenant provides for the Committee to consider inter-state complaints. Furthermore, the First Optional Protocol to the Covenant gives the Committee competence to examine individual complaints with regard to alleged violations of the Covenant by States parties to the Protocol.

The full competence of the Committee extends to the Second Optional Protocol to the Covenant on the abolition of the death penalty with regard to States who have accepted the Protocol.

The Committee meets in Geneva and normally holds three sessions per year.

The Committee also publishes its interpretation of the content of human rights provisions, known as general comments on thematic issues or its methods of work.

For more information about the work of the Human Rights Committee, read the Civil and Political Rights: The Human Rights Committee fact sheet. (PDF)

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