International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was a product of the same process that gave rise to the ICCPR (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights). The Economic and Social Council was tasked with creating the "Declaration on the Fundamental Rights of Man," which had been presented during the 1945 San Francisco Conference that resulted in the creation of the United Nations.

The document was initially divided into two parts: a declaration outlining fundamental human rights principles and a convention or covenant containing legally binding promises. The former was adopted on December 10, 1948, and developed into the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

What is ICCPR?

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) is a multilateral agreement that states must uphold a person's civil and political rights, such as the right to life, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, the right to vote, and the right to a fair trial and due process.

  • Upon its 35th ratification or accession, it came into effect on March 23, 1976. It was adopted by the UN General Assembly in Resolution 2200A (XXI) on December 16, 1966.

  • As of June 2022, the Covenant had 173 parties and six additional signatories who had not ratified it, including Cuba and the People's Republic of China. North Korea is the only state that has attempted to leave the Covenant.

Articles of ICCPR

There are following articles which covered under ICCPR −

Articles of ICCPR States that
Article 1 It acknowledges that all peoples have the right to self-determination, which includes the freedom to "freely define their political status," pursue their own economic, social, and cultural objectives, and control how to use their own resources.
Article 2-5 These articles give parties the ability to create laws that implement the rights outlined in the Covenant and offer a legal remedy in the event that such rights are violated.

Article 6-27

The rights listed in Articles 6 through 27 include −
  • Protection of physical integrity, including the right to life, freedom from torture, and freedom from slavery.

  • Freedom from unwarranted detention, the right to habeas corpus, and the assurance of personal security and freedom.

  • Fairness in the legal system and its processes is ensured by the rights to a fair trial, an unbiased judge, and the assumption of innocence.

  • Momentary, thought, religious association, conscience, assembly, right to privacy, and right to nationality are all examples of freedoms.

  • Advocating for national or religious hatred that will lead to violence or enmity is forbidden, as is propaganda for war and religious causes.

  • Participation in politics, including the right to vote.

  • No discrimination based on a person's membership in a minority is permitted.

Article 28-45
  • The reporting and monitoring requirements for the Covenant are outlined in these articles, together with the rules by which the Human Rights Committee will work.

  • It also permits the parties to acknowledge the committee's authority to settle disagreements among parties over the implementation of the ICCPR.

Article 46-47 According to Articles 46–47, parties are not required to interfere with the functioning of the UN or "the inherent right of all peoples to enjoy and exploit full and freely their natural wealth."

Overview of ICCPR

The International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the ICCPR all make up the International Bill of Human Rights (UDHR).

The United Nations Human Rights Committee, which evaluates party reports on the effectiveness of fundamental rights implementation, is in charge of monitoring the ICCPR's implementation. Following their ratification of the Covenant, and as needed thereafter, the parties to the ICCPR must submit reports. In Geneva, Switzerland, the Committee meets three times a year.

Background of ICCPR

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) of the United Nations makes an effort to guarantee the preservation of civil and political rights. It was approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 19, 1966, and it came into effect on March 23, 1976. The term "International Bill of Rights" refers to the International Covenant of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICCPR), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the ICCPR and its two Optional Protocols.

Purpose of ICCPR

The ICCPR affirms the inherent worth of every person and commits to fostering the conditions necessary for the exercise of civil and political rights within each state. As stated in the Covenant, nations that have ratified it are required "to defend and preserve basic human rights" and "compelled to take administrative, judicial, and legislative measures in order to protect the rights embodied in the treaty and to provide an adequate remedy." The ICCPR currently has 168 parties and 74 signatures.

Optional Protocols of ICCPR

The ICCPR has two optional protocols −

  • If one of their rights under the ICCPR has been violated, this enables individuals to file a complaint with the Human Rights Committee on an individual basis. On December 16th, 1966, the UN enacted the first optional protocol. It becomes effective on March 23, 1976.

  • The death penalty is intended to be abolished under the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. State parties are required to abolish the death penalty under the second optional protocol.


After World War II, the United Nations was established with the goal of bridging international divisions and advancing the cause of peace. All people are entitled to basic rights that must be upheld in order for the human race to advance. Human rights are the cornerstone of all human existence. The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights served as the foundation for numerous human rights statutes, the most important of which were the ICCPR and the ICESCR. These Treaties established rights that everyone is required to enjoy, regardless of any and all circumstances.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Is ICCPR legally binding?

Ans. The ICCPR is a binding international agreement. As a result, states that ratify the treaty are legally bound by it, whilst states that do not are neither subject to its duties nor able to use them as legal leverage against other state parties.

Q2. What is the basic principle of ICCPR?

Ans. Every child has the right to the protections necessary for his or her status as a minor from his or her family, society, and the State, without distinction based on race, color, sex, language, religion, national or social origin, property, or place of birth.

Q3. How does the ICCPR promote human rights?

Ans. In this regard, the law shall forbid any kind of discrimination and ensure that everyone has access to equal and effective protection from discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, language, religion, political opinion, national or ethnic origin, or any other basis.

Q4. How many countries signed the ICCPR?

Ans. There are a total of 173 parties to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Q5. When was ICCPR introduced?

Ans. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, opened for signature 19 December 1966, and entered into force on 23 March 1976.

Updated on: 06-Apr-2023


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