Human Rights Committee

The Human Rights Committee is a group of independent experts that supervises implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) by its State Parties which are bound to submit regular reports to the HRC regarding how the ICCPR rights are being implemented. The HRC also publishes General Comments which delineate its interpretation of ICCPR provisions. While the ICCPR permits State Parties to bring a complaint to the Committee regarding an alleged violation of the ICCPR by another State party, this procedure has never been invoked. However, if a State party has ratified the First Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, then any individual may submit an individual communication to the Committee alleging that State Party has violated his or her rights under the ICCPR. This procedure has been invoked many times and has resulted in State Parties providing redress or changing their actions or laws. Communications may be made by a third person on behalf of another if that person gave consent or without consent in special circumstances (for instance, where a person is imprisoned and lacks access to the outside world or is a victim of an enforced disappearance). Individual communications may not be anonymous, and the complainant must have first exhausted all domestic remedies. Lastly, under particular circumstances, the Committee may initiate inquiries into grave or systemic violations of ICCPR rights.