The Covenant on Civil and Political Rights - Description
1. Overview of the Human
Rapporteur on New Communications
Group on Communications
Rapporteur on Follow-up
2. Individual Complaints
Procedure of the Human Rights Committee
of the Communication and Preliminary Procedures
of the Communication
Registration of the Communication
Transmittal to the State Party
and Submissions from the Parties
of the Merits and Follow-up
3. Examples of Human Rights
1. Overview of the Human
The Human Rights Committee is
responsible for receiving and considering complaints under the Optional
Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR).
The Committee is composed of 18 experts, nominated and elected by states
parties. Members serve in their personal, independent capacity.
A Committee member may sit in
judgment of Optional Protocol cases even though his or her state of nationality
has not ratified the Optional Protocol.
The Committee follows specific
procedures in the consideration of individual communications. The individual
communications procedures originate from three sources: the provisions of the
Optional Protocol itself, the Rules of Procedure that have been adopted
formally by the Human Rights Committee, and the Committee's customary
To help maintain impartiality in
the complaint process, the Rules of Procedure of the Human Rights Committee
provide that members shall not take part in the deliberation of a case
involving the state party in respect of which they were elected, in which they
have a personal interest, or in which they have been participated in any way in
the making of any decision in the case before it reached the Committee (Rules
90 and 91).
The Committee meets three times
per year, with each session being three weeks in duration. The meetings are
held in Geneva (July and October/November) and in New York (March). Although
most meetings are public, when the Committee considers individual
communications, the meetings are "closed" to the public (Optional
Protocol, article 5). The summary records of closed meetings remain
Generally, the Human Rights
Committee tries to make decisions on communications by consensus, although
formal decisions can be made by a majority. In cases where no consensus can be
reached, or where a member wishes to explain his or her position in greater
detail, the individual members may express their concurring or dissenting Views
which are appended to the Committee's decision.
a) Special Rapporteur on New
The Human Rights Committee has
appointed, from among its members, a Special Rapporteur on New Communications.
This is a position that was created by the Committee in 1989 to assist both the
Secretariat and the Committee in dealing with cases at the preliminary stages.
The responsibilities of the Special Rapporteur on New Communications are to:
$ decide on the registration of cases
$ decide whether additional information is to be requested from the
author prior to the Committee's consideration of the case
$ decide whether the examination of admissibility should be
separated from that of the merits
$ request states parties to take interim measures where they are
warranted (Rule 92).
b) Case Rapporteur
Case rapporteurs are appointed at
every session. They prepare draft recommendations on each case for the Working
Group. The case rapporteur gives instructions to the Secretariat how the
decision is to be drafted and presents the draft to the Working Group and to
the full Committee.
c) Working Group on
The Committee has established a
Working Group on Communications which meets for one week prior to every session
and reviews all of the draft decisions prepared by case rapporteurs. The
Working Group makes recommendations to the full Committee. The five-member
Working Group can declare cases admissible if all five members agree. The
Committee as a whole also normally decides on the admissibility and merits of a
communication together; in exceptional circumstances, the Working Group may
decide to address admissibility separately.
d) Special Rapporteur on Follow-up
The function of the Special
Rapporteur on Follow-up of Views was established in 1990. The Rapporteur
monitors compliance with the Committee's recommendations. The Rapporteur may
visit the state party concerned to further the goal of implementation. The
latter, however, has rarely occurred in practice. The Rapporteur also conducts
private meetings with state party representatives on an ad-hoc basis to
encourage compliance with the Committee's Views.
See flow chart of the CCPR Complaints Procedure.
2. Individual Complaints
Procedure of the Human Rights Committee
The basic process for submitting a communication found in
the previous section of the website should be read together with
the more specific information provided in relation to the Human Rights
a) Registration of the
Communication and Preliminary Procedures
i) Submission of the
A communication should be
submitted to the Petitions Team at UN Secretariat of the Office of the High
Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva in writing, by letter, fax or email. Fax
or email communications must be confirmed by signed copies received by the
Secretariat. Communications cannot be anonymous. The state that is the subject
of the communication must be clearly identified. Although there is no mandatory
format for communications, the
use of model communication forms created by the Committee can
streamline the communication process, and is advisable.
Of the thousands of general
letters of complaint that arrive at the UN each year, only a small fraction are
channelled to the Human Rights Committee by the UN secretariat. If the
communication is not expressly addressed to the Human Rights Committee, it may
not get there, or its receipt may be delayed.
Where the communication does not
provide the necessary information in order for it to be registered, the
secretariat may send a standardized form to the author and request that the
communication be resubmitted providing all the information indicated on the
form. Since the Committee relies heavily on the facts in each particular case,
it is important to set out all the relevant information at the outset.
At a minimum the following
information should be included:
$ the identity and contact information of the victim,
$ the state against which the communication is directed,
$ the provisions of the Covenant alleged to have been breached,
$ all the relevant facts together with any supporting documentation
(such as a statement signed by the victim, witness statements, court
$ steps taken to exhaust local remedies, or evidence why local
remedies are ineffective, unavailable, or unreasonably prolonged,
$ information regarding whether this matter is before any other
procedure of international investigation or settlement,
$ the remedy requested.
Other important points:
The Human Rights Committee's
working languages are at present English, French, and Spanish. Although
communications theoretically can be registered in any of the official languages
of the UN (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish), there will
likely be significant delays in the processing of the case if the author uses a
language other than English, French or Spanish. Cases received in Russian are
sent to translation once initially processed, sometimes at a considerable
delay. Cases received in Arabic or Chinese are normally returned to the author
who is requested to resubmit in English, French or Spanish. If a communication
is received in a non-UN official language, the author will normally receive at
the outset a letter requesting the re-submission of the communication in
English, French or Spanish. If it happens that a communication has been
submitted in an additional language which a UN secretariat member servicing the
Committee understands, it may be processed initially without translation.
Authors are strongly advised to submit communications in English, French or
There is no time limit within
which to bring a claim, but very long delays in bringing the claim may be
considered by the Human Rights Committee to be an abuse of the right of
submission. The Human Rights Committee requires that a 'convincing' or
'reasonable' explanation be given to justify a significant delay in bringing a
communication in order to avoid the finding of an abuse of the right of
The UN does not provide legal aid
or financial assistance to authors, nor does the Optional Protocol require that
states parties provide legal aid where an individual wishes to submit a
communication. Authors should determine whether or not their own domestic legal
aid system voluntarily provides for the possibility of legal aid.
However, NGO's and other legal
professionals are allowed to represent the victims. Victims are encouraged to
seek assistance from NGO's or legal professionals, or to appoint them as
representatives, so as to focus their claims and facilitate the Committee's
Withdrawal of the
A author may subsequently
withdraw his or her communication.
The Committee normally accepts
the withdrawal, but if there is an indication there might have been external
pressure to do so, the Committee will try to ascertain whether withdrawal was
the result of undue pressure by the state or other threats.
All documents relating to a
communication are confidential and the Human Rights Committee does not
publicize cases, except by the eventual release of a decision. However, the
author and the state party may make public 'any submissions or information
bearing on the proceedings', provided that the Committee does not expressly ask
them to refrain from doing so. At all times the Committee may decide that
certain elements of the case must remain confidential. This relates especially,
but not exclusively, to the identity of the author.
inadmissibility, discontinuation or merits (Views) will be made public. The
names of the authors and/or victims will be disclosed, unless the Committee
decides otherwise, at the request of the authors. A discontinuance may be made
public by number without divulging the name of the author or victim. Decisions
concerning interim measures are also made public. With respect to follow-up
information concerning the Committee's Views received from the author or the
state party, everything is in principle within the public domain.
ii) Registration of the
All communications are initially
reviewed by the UN Secretariat servicing the Committee prior to their
registration. The secretariat must bring to the attention of the Committee all
communications which are, or appear to be, submitted for the consideration of
the Committee. In practice, the Secretariat may wait to do so until further
information is requested and obtained from the author.
The Secretariat may ask the
author for clarification regarding any or all of the following issues (Rule
$ Name, address, place and date of birth, occupation of the author
and the verification of the author=s
$ The state against which the communication is directed
$ The object of the communication
$ The precise CCPR provision which is being invoked
$ Clarification about the facts of the claim
$ Information about which local or domestic remedies have been used
$ Information about other international procedures that have been used.
$ Medical or other records where relevant.
The Secretariat will indicate a
time limit for replying to such requests (Rule 86), but strict sanctions are
not applied when this limit is not met. Failure to provide adequate information
necessary to register a case, may result in a communication not being
registered. A decision to register a case may be made pending the response to
questions for additional information.
Once a communication appears to
contain sufficient information required for registration, the Secretariat
forwards a summary to the Special Rapporteur on New Communications who will
decide whether or not to register the case. If the Special Rapporteur
determines that there are genuine issues as to a violation of the CCPR, the
case will be registered and added to the Committee's list of registered cases.
The Special Rapporteur will not register cases that manifestly do not meet the
admissibility criteria set out in the Optional Protocol and elaborated in the
Rules of Procedure of the Committee.
If the Special Rapporteur finds
that there are no real issues in the case or that it clearly does not meet
admissibility criteria, then the communication is not registered and the author
is informed of the decision not to register. Generally, this ends the case.
However, a decision of the Special Rapporteur not to register a case is not
final in the sense that the author of the communication may insist that the
case be registered and the practice is for the Special Rapporteur to comply. In
these circumstances, however, the Special Rapporteur will usually send the
communication directly to the Committee with a recommendation that the case be
declared inadmissible. The recommendation not to address the case on the merits
will normally be adopted by the Committee.
In order to expedite the
registration process, authors should consider submitting a summary of their
case (limited to about 5 pages) along with the full argument and supporting
iii) Transmittal to the
If the Special Rapporteur
believes that the communication is likely to be admissible, then he or she will
transmit the case to the state party and request submissions on both the issues
of admissibility and merits. A state party may object to the two issues being
determined simultaneously and may request that the issue of admissibility be
dealt with separately and resolved by the Committee, before a consideration of
the merits. The Special Rapporteur has authority to separate the two issues.
The Special Rapporteur may refuse a request by the state party to separate the
admissibility and the merits and insist on a state party response to both. The
normal practice of the Committee is to consider the issues simultaneously in
order to avoid delay. Most states parties agree to the Committee's request to
consider the two issues together.
iv) Interim Measures
The Special Rapporteur on New
Communications will also review the communication to decide whether or not to
make a request for interim measures. Interim measures are measures taken in the
interim between the receipt of the case and its final determination. The
Special Rapporteur may decide to ask a state to take urgent measures in order
to avoid irreparable damage to the author prior to a final decision being
taken. These types of requests are made in emergency situations (for example,
the claimant is on death row awaiting imminent execution, or faces imminent
expulsion or extradition to a state where he may be tortured). The Human Rights
Committee expressly states that these requests do not mean that the
communication will result in a finding of a violation by the state of Covenant
rights. In many of the cases the Committee eventually finds no violation. The
point of interim measures is to avoid harmful and irreparable outcomes prior to
the Committee's ability to reach a final conclusion.
Interim measures may be requested
before or after a decision has been made about the admissibility of the case.
In some cases, interim measures may be requested from a State even in order to
allow a person to complete the filing of a claim before the Committee.
b) Admissibility and
Submissions from the Parties
After a communication is
registered, the case is handled by the Secretariat until it is ripe for
decision. Only when the case has been fully prepared will a Committee member be
appointed as a Case Rapporteur. The Rapporteur's task is to study the case and
all supporting documents closely and provide the Working Group, and later the
Committee, with a draft decision of the case on both admissibility and merits.
The Rapporteur usually sits on the Working Group, but if he or she is absent,
another member of the Working Group may present the Rapporteur's draft. The
Working Group does not always agree with the Rapporteur's recommendations and may
make a different recommendation to the plenary, which in turn, is free to
disagree with the Working Group's recommendation. The Working Group on
Communications will make an initial evaluation of admissibility. It is possible
for the Working Group to recommend to the plenary that a case be dismissed as
inadmissible without requesting comments from the state party.
A frequent ground of
inadmissibility is Article 2 of the Protocol which states that authors must
"claim that...their rights enumerated in the Covenant have been
violated". The Rules of Procedure interpret this to mean that an
individual must claim "in a manner sufficiently substantiated, to be a
victim of a violation...of the rights set forth in the Covenant." In other
words, a case must sufficiently substantiate that a right has been violated for
the purposes of admissibility. In practice this criterion serves a similar
function to the "manifestly ill-founded" criteria of the European
Convention on Human Rights system.
Another important ground of
inadmissibility, the requirement that domestic remedies be exhausted, is
frequently misunderstood. The exhaustion of domestic remedies condition may be
satisfied, not by the existence or use of domestic proceedings, but by the fact
that they are ineffective, unavailable, or unreasonably prolonged. According to
the jurisprudence of the Human Rights Committee the rule of exhaustion of
domestic remedies "applies only to the extent that those remedies are
effective and available" and not "unreasonably prolonged".
In the case where admissibility
and merits have been separated, and the Working Group unanimously decides that
the case is admissible, it will inform the state party of its decision and the
state party will then be required to make submissions on the merits. The
Working Group is empowered to declare communications admissible if all five of
its members unanimously so decide. A recommendation on inadmissibility,
however, must be reviewed by the Committee in plenary. A formal written
decision will be adopted declaring the communication inadmissible, including
the reasons for such a decision. This ends the case.
If the Working Group cannot reach
unanimity on the admissibility of the case, it will forward the case to the
Committee as a whole, which will then decide the issue. If at this stage the
Committee considers the case to be inadmissible, this will be a final decision.
A formal written decision will be adopted declaring the communication
inadmissible, including the reasons for such a decision. This ends the case.
Once the state party is sent a
written request from the Committee on both the admissibility of the
communication and on the merits, article 4 of the Optional Protocol requires
that the state party respond within six months. The author is subsequently sent
the state party's response and given the opportunity to respond to the state's
submissions within two months. Subsequently, the author's comments are sent to
the state party and further submissions are permitted. The Committee's practice
permits the exchange to continue, but it does not encourage a limitless number
of rounds. After the first round each party's submission is transmitted to the
other party "for information". Of course, the other party may - and
often does - react to the submission, thus resulting in a back and forth
exchange of submissions. The Committee, however, determines at some point that
it has enough information to proceed to a decision on the merits. The Committee
will not rely on one party's information unless the other party has received it
and has had the opportunity to comment thereon. Time limits for states and for
authors are not strictly adhered to, which tends to lengthen significantly the
overall process. The Committee may, in the future, change its practice and
demand that the parties respect the deadlines or risk that their submission
will not be accepted.
If the state party does not
submit replies, then it will be perceived to have accepted the admissibility of
the case. On the merits, the absence of a state response is viewed very
negatively by the Committee, and may result in a finding of a violation of
c) Determination of the Merits
When all arguments on both the
admissibility and merits of the case have been submitted, the submissions are
considered by the Working Group on Communications. The Working Group will make
recommendations to the Committee as to an appropriate disposition of the case.
The Committee as a whole will then take the final decision. A decision that the
communication is inadmissible ends the case and the Committee does not go on to
consider the merits of the communication. If the Committee decides that the
communication is admissible, then it will go on to make a decision on the
merits of the communication and will find either that there is, or is not, a
violation of a treaty right.
The final decision may set out a
specific remedy, but often leaves the determination of the remedy to the state
party. The Committee may recommend, for example, compensation, amending
legislation, a new trial, commutation of a sentence of death, or release from
police custody. Authors of communications should include a request for a
specific remedy in the initial complaint, although the Committee may choose to
leave the matter open to the state party, and simply recommend that the state
party grant an "appropriate remedy".
If the Committee finds that a
person's rights have been violated, the Committee will request the state to
inform them within 90 days (from the date of the "note verbale"
transmitting the decision) of the remedy provided to the victim.
The Committee has appointed one
of its members as Special Rapporteur on Follow-up (of Views). The Rapporteur on
Follow-up is responsible for monitoring the responses of states parties to the
Committee's request for information on the remedy provided. He or she will also
meet at each session with representatives of selected states parties that have
not responded positively to the Committee's request. The Annual Reports of the
Committee contain information from the Rapporteur on state responses and these
meetings. On one occasion the Rapporteur has visited a state party in the
course of follow-up activities, although their report on the mission was not
Other important points:
The Human Rights Committee
publishes an Annual Report which contains information on the number of cases
pending before it and all the Views and inadmissibility decisions adopted
during that annual reporting cycle. The Committee will also indicate the number
of cases it has found admissible or has discontinued during its sessions that
Before publication of the Annual
Report, the final Views on individual communications may already be posted
Reservations to the CCPR or the
Optional Protocol may substantially limit the ability of an individual to
successfully make a case against a particular state party. It is therefore
necessary to check the reservations made by the state party.
At the same time, some reservations
may not be legitimate, that is, they may be incompatible with the object and
purpose of the treaty. In these cases, it is possible that the treaty body will
refuse to apply the reservation in a manner which would limit the application
of the CCPR or the Optional Protocol in the context of a communication. Where
reservations would potentially affect the communication, it is also important
to check prior comments of the Committee which may have been made on the
compatibility of the reservation with the object and purpose of the treaty. The
Human Rights Committee has directly told some states parties in the course of
considering state reports their views as to whether a reservation is
incompatible with the object and purpose of the Covenant.
Reservations to the Optional
Protocol concerning the prior examination of the complaint by another
international procedure of investigation or settlement may or may not preclude
the Committee's competence, since the Covenant may provide for rights not
justiciable under the other procedure. Moreover, if a case is declared
inadmissible by another body on the grounds of late submission, it is not
deemed to have been examined and the reservation would not apply.
Members of the Committee can
append their individual concurring or dissenting opinions to the Committee's
Views. Sometimes these opinions are more revealing of the Committee's actual
rationale than the majority opinion, which may have been reduced to a brief
common denominator so as to reach a compromise on the reasoning or the result.
Individual opinions are a source of legal reasoning that may point to the
direction of the Committee's jurisprudence in future cases.
3. Examples of Human Rights
The Human Rights Committee has
developed a body of case law which interprets and applies Covenant rights. The
prior decisions of the Committee are a valuable tool in advancing a case, since
the Committee will attempt to be consistent in its interpretation of the
substantive rights in the CCPR.
Below is a sample of the types of
cases decided by the Human Rights Committee. This list is not exhaustive, and
the Committee is continually being asked to make decisions in different types
of cases. Under the Optional Protocol, the Committee considers violations of
the provisions in Part III of the Covenant (articles 6-27), whereas the
provisions in Parts I and II are deemed general undertakings by states parties,
not directly invocable under the Optional Protocol.
Right to self-determination (article
The Human Rights Committee has
decided that the right to self-determination is not "justiciable". In
other words, it cannot be the subject of a claim or decision by the Committee,
on the ground that this is a group right and that an individual cannot claim to
be a victim of a violation of such a right. On the other hand,
self-determination issues are often discussed in the context of minority
rights. (article 27)
Right to a Remedy (article 2)
States parties must ensure the
rights in the Covenant to all persons under their jurisdiction. This right
cannot be invoked autonomously, or on its own, by an individual. Nevertheless,
the Committee frequently makes findings of violations of "article 14, in
conjunction with article 2", or of "article 26, in conjunction with
article 2", when it wants to emphasize that the state has failed to ensure
a remedy for a violation of Covenant rights.
Equality of men and women
The Committee has made findings
of violation of article 3 in conjunction with article 26, but not of article 3
Derogation (article 4)
States may derogate in times of
national emergency, and only for limited periods of time, from certain Covenant
rights. The UN Secretary General must be officially notified of a derogation.
Most favourable law and
practice (article 5)
A state party must apply the most
favourable law to an individual and cannot misuse the Covenant to limit
enjoyment of rights under national law.
Right to Life (article 6)
Killings during police action - The Human Rights Committee has considered many cases where the killing of
individuals by police or other state actors could not be justified as
self-defence or for any other legitimate purpose. Even if killings by state
actors are considered to be lawful actions under the domestic law of that
state, the Human Rights Committee will scrutinize the situation in order to
determine whether the killings were proportionate to the requirements of law
enforcement. The Committee takes the position that if killings are lawful,
where the use of force is disproportionate, the domestic law has not adequately
protected the right to life, and the victims' right to life has therefore been
Killings while in detention - Many cases have been brought to the Committee involving deaths while in
detention by police or in prisons. When the Human Rights Committee finds that
the use of lethal force cannot be justified under the circumstances, a
violation of the right to life will be found. States are said to have a duty to
protect persons in their custody and take effective measures for that purpose.
Duty to investigate killings
by state actors - States not only have a duty to protect the right to life,
they also have a duty to investigate who is responsible for the death of an
individual, for example, unexplained deaths in police custody or in prisons,
and to pay compensation to the family of the victim. A similar duty of
investigation exists in cases of 'disappearances', where there is evidence to
suggest state involvement. States have an obligation to punish the perpetrators
of extrajudicial or illegal killings by state actors. If domestic legislation
does not provide for adequate penalties, this will be held to be a failure to
protect the right to life.
Attempted killings -
Attempts on the life of an individual, even if unsuccessful, carried out by
state agents also entail a violation of article 6.
Killings or attempted killings
by non-state actors - Killings or attempted killings by non-state actors,
such as paramilitary forces, whose actions cannot be directly imputed to the
state, do not constitute a violation of article 6. They may, however, entail a
violation of article 9, paragraph 1, security of the person.
Death penalty cases - The
CCPR does not prohibit the imposition of the death penalty, although this is
prohibited by the Second Optional Protocol which must be separately ratified to
take effect with respect to a particular state. Nevertheless, the Human Rights
Committee has found that the imposition of the death penalty entails a
violation of the right to life in certain circumstances, including:
$ The death penalty may only be imposed for the "most serious
crimes" (article 6(2)). The Committee has limited the meaning of
"most serious crimes" to crimes such as those that involve the
infliction (or attempted infliction) of death or serious injury to other human
beings. Capital offences, according to the domestic laws of some states
parties, such as drug offences, robbery, crimes against property, apostasy or
adultery, do not justify the imposition of capital punishment, and the
imposition itself would entail a violation of article 6.
$ Mandatory death sentences for certain crimes without
consideration of mitigating circumstances
$ The imposition of the death penalty against minors (under 18) or
pregnant women is prohibited by article 6(5) of the CCPR.
$ The Human Rights Committee has held that if the method of
execution may amount to a violation of article 7 (torture, cruel or inhuman
punishment) extradition is prohibited.
$ Early jurisprudence of the Committee established that extradition
to a country which still has the death penalty is not a violation of the right
to life, even if the extraditing country has itself abolished capital
punishment. However, more recent jurisprudence has evolved: for countries that
have abolished the death penalty, the Committee has interpreted the CCPR to
impose the obligation not to expose a person to a real risk of application of
the death penalty, by either deportation or extradition.
$ In many cases, the Human Rights Committee has held that where a
trial resulting in the imposition of the death penalty does not meet the
requirements of a fair trial under article 14, a violation of the right to life
also occurs by virtue of the imposition of the sentence regardless of the
actual execution. In these cases, it is not sufficient for individuals to
allege their innocence; they must establish that they have had an unfair trial.
Duty to prevent deaths -
States must adequately train, equip and regulate police forces in order to
protect the life of its citizens during police action. States are responsible
for the lives of those persons they hold in detention. Therefore they have a
positive duty to ensure that detained people do not die while under detention,
and to take measures to avoid and prevent suicide.
Although states are not
responsible for killings by non-state actors, a state will be held to violate
the right to life if they do not take adequate measures to prevent and punish
killings by private actors. This duty also requires criminalizing all forms of
killings including the deliberate refusal of help to persons in serious danger.
Abortion and Euthanasia -
The Human Rights Committee has not examined cases of abortion or euthanasia on
the merits under the article 6 of the Optional Protocol, although it has
considered the failure of medical authorities to permit a therapeutic abortion
in the context of article 7. In that case, the Committee decided that the
refusal to permit a therapeutic abortion, which resulted in pain and mental
suffering, constituted a violation of article 7 of the CCPR. In its concluding
observations it has criticized states for laws permitting euthanasia. On the
other hand, it has not held abortion to be a violation of the right to life and
has criticized certain anti-abortion legislation.
Freedom from Torture and
Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (article 7)
Torture by state agents -
Numerous cases have been successfully brought concerning torture, cruel,
inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Apart from the actual physical
infliction of pain, the infliction of mental distress or fear (for example,
mock executions, threats against family, failure to provide family members with
information concerning the fate of a detained person or location of their body),
humiliation, and the refusal of medical care in some circumstances can also
amount to torture. In the case of the families of detainees, the failure of
the authorities to advise the family of the fate of the detainee, the failure
to produce their body or advise where they are buried, can also be a violation
of the family members’ article 7 rights.
Female Genital Mutilation –
The failure of a state to protect women and girls from being subjected to
female genital mutilation amounts to prohibited treatment under article 7.
Similarly, states who return a person to a country where they run a real and
personal risk of being subjected to female genital mutilation have been found
to violate articles 7 and 24(1). The fact that there may be formal laws
prohibiting this practice is insufficient; the Committee will look at the facts
in each case, including whether the practice is in fact practiced with
Time spent on death row/Death
row phenomenon - The Human Rights Committee does not recognise the time
spent on death row in itself as a violation of article 7. A violation of
article 7 has been found in rare cases involving very prolonged periods of
detention on death row that were attributable to the state, and in which there
were harsh living conditions.
Death Cell Detention -
Distinct from death row detention is the detention of a person in a death cell
immediately before execution. If a person is detained in such a cell for an
unreasonably long period, this can violate article 7.
Method of execution of death
penalty - The Human Rights Committee has accepted that certain methods of
execution can amount to torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and that
others do not. For example, death by gas asphyxiation is a violation of article
7, whereas death by lethal injection does not violate article 7. Public
executions or lapidation (stoning) may amount to degrading treatment or
punishment, but no such cases have yet been decided.
non-refoulement/return - States are not allowed to extradite or return
persons to another country where they run the risk of being tortured. The issue
of non-refoulement arises with respect to asylum seekers whose applications for
refugee status have been unsuccessful. Although the Committee cannot decide the
asylum question, it has said that the Covenant requires the protection of an
individual from the risk of torture. (To date, most of these cases have been
brought to the Committee Against Torture.)
Medical experimentation -
One author has claimed that he was subjected to medical and pharmacological
experiments during detention, and that he was subjected to torture and
ill-treatment. A violation of article 7 was found without, however, elaborating
on the alleged medical experimentation.
Refusal by medical authorities
to permit therapeutic abortions – In one case, the Committee found that the
refusal to permit a therapeutic abortion, which resulted in pain and mental
suffering constituted a violation of article 7.
Corporal Punishment -
Corporal punishment is prohibited under article 7, and criminal penalties
involving corporal punishment, such as whipping, have been held to violate
Conditions of Detention -
There have been cases where article 7 has been violated because of appalling
prison conditions. This may relate directly to the physical conditions (such as
very confined spaces, too many persons in one cell) or the way the detainee is
treated. A person should be allowed to have sufficient contact with other human
beings and be afforded a minimal level of respect by the guards. Note that poor
living conditions in themselves do not necessarily amount to a violation of
article 7, but rather fall under article 10.
Incommunicado Detention -
Incommunicado detention of a person or denial of contact with anyone outside of
the prison (including family, friends or lawyers) can amount to cruel and
degrading treatment if it is for prolonged periods of time. Very long periods
of solitary confinement (several years) have also been found to breach article
Duty to investigate, prosecute
and punish violators of article 7 - There is a duty upon the state to
investigate all allegations of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
and provide for adequate penalties against the perpetrators. A state must also
provide remedies and compensation to victims of torture.
Prohibition of Slavery,
Servitude and Forced Labour (article 8)
So far, no cases have been
successfully brought under the prohibition of slavery. Attempts have been made
to subsume the right of conscientious objection under the prohibition of forced
labour, but this argument has not been successful.
Liberty and security of
the person, including the prohibition of arbitrary arrest or detention (article
Security of the person -
The right to security of the person is independent from the issue of liberty of
the person and has to be guaranteed as such. Persons who are in real danger
must be protected by the state. For example, a state was found to violate
article 9 because it failed to take appropriate measures to ensure the security
of a person who had received death threats. Arguably, if the state is aware of
serious situations of domestic violence and abstains from interfering, this
will also be a violation of article 9.
States must also protect
individuals against threats made by officials. Consequently, a state was held
to have violated article 9 by not investigating the shooting from behind of a
person during an arrest.
Liberty of the person - The right to liberty does not only apply to cases of criminal detention. Liberty also includes detention in the context of immigration, psychiatric institutions
and military discipline. Other kinds of limitations on the freedom of movement,
such as the prohibition to leave a certain geographical area do not amount to a
deprivation of liberty in this sense (see article 12).
The legality or arbitrariness
of the deprivation of liberty - There must be a legal basis for any
deprivation of liberty, which may not be arbitrary in form or application. The
Human Rights Committee has held this requirement to mean that detention must
not only be lawful, but also necessary and reasonable. Even if the initial
arrest is not arbitrary or unreasonable, the duration of the detention
subsequently can be arbitrary. Hence, cases where persons were kept in prison
after they had finished their sentence were found to be violations of article
9. If the purpose of the detention is illegal or arbitrary, even very short
periods of detention are prohibited.
The detention of undocumented
aliens and persons seeking refugee status is not in itself arbitrary, but the
detention must be justified and the duration of the detention cannot be
Detention in a mental institution
has also been before the Human Rights Committee as a claim under article 9,
although the Committee found no violation of article 9 in the particular case.
The detention was justified on the basis of several reports of psychiatrists.
Detention of persons because of
the danger they pose to society has not as such been found to be a violation of
Rights upon Arrest or
Detention (articles 9(2), 9(3), 9(4))
Right to be informed of the
reason for the arrest (at the time of arrest) (article 9 (2)) - Providing
reasons for arrest is not identical to informing the accused of the precise
criminal charges. However, article 9(2) requires that the accused also be
"promptly" informed of any charges against him or her. Failure by the
state to provide reasons for any deprivation of liberty is a violation of
article 9 (2). Even if no charges have already been brought, pending the police
investigation, people held in remand have the right to know why they are kept
in custody. These reasons must be given immediately, although the shortest
period which has been found to be a violation was seven days. However, in cases
where the author was undoubtedly aware of the reasons (for example, because he
or she was present during a house search and drugs were found), it is accepted
that he or she is aware of the reasons, even if the charges still have to be
Cases have also been brought
because the arrested person allegedly did not understand the language and no
competent interpreter was provided.
Right to be brought promptly
before a judicial officer (article 9(3)) -Although there is no specific
time limit that is deemed unacceptable, the Committee has found delays of five
days or more to be in violation of article 9 (3). The independence and impartiality
of the "judicial officer" has also been challenged and found to be a
breach of article 9 (3) where the arrested person was only brought before the
public prosecutor, and not an impartial judicial officer.
Trial within a reasonable time
or release (article 9(3)) - Article 9(3) refers to the period of detention
of an accused before a criminal trial. Article 14(3) (c) refers to the period
of time between the laying of the charges and the trial, regardless of whether
the person is in detention or not. Violations of article 14(3)(c) will also be
violations of article 9(3) where the accused is in pre-trial detention.
Although the reasonable time
requirement differs from case to case, (depending, for example, on the
seriousness of the crime and the likelihood of escape or danger to society),
states must give adequate reasons for long delays. Detention without bail must
be justified, for example, when it is feared that the person will tamper with
the evidence, intimidate witnesses or escape the jurisdiction. Budgetary
restrictions, or administrative arguments, have not been accepted by the
Committee as sufficient justification. The behaviour of the accused, or the
conduct of the accused's defence, will be taken into consideration to determine
the reasonableness of the duration of detention.
Right to take proceedings
before a court to have the lawfulness of an arrest or detention determined
without delay (article 9 (4)) - This is a right of the detained person to
initiate proceedings (habeas corpus). If the detainee fails to seek review of
detention or arrest, the state is not responsible to initiate such proceedings.
Review of lawfulness of
detention to be determined without delay (article 9(4)) - The delay
experienced awaiting a judicial decision on the lawfulness of detention will be
judged on a case-by-case basis. Periods of delay of as little as three days
have been found to violate article 9(4), but in another case, a delay of three
months after an appeal was brought was not found to be incompatible in itself.
It is the state's responsibility to give reasons for the delay.
Detainees have the right to have
the lawfulness of their detention reviewed on a regular basis.
Effective exercise of the
right of review - The Committee has linked the right to review of detention
under article 9(4) with the right to have legal representation (article 14).
However, it has been held that there is no violation of the CCPR where a
detainee was moved to several different places of detention and was thus forced
to seek different legal representatives each time.
Persons held incommunicado cannot
exercise their right to review, so prolonged periods of incommunicado detention
amount to a breach of article 9(4). For example, five days of incommunicado
detention has been held to be a violation.
Review before a
"court" - Situations where a detained person only has access to a
real court on appeal violates article 9(4) because this article requires access
to a court without delay. A prior appearance before another authority only
delays this right.
Military discipline -
Disciplinary sanctions against military personnel depriving them of their
liberty to an extent that cannot be considered to fall within the normal
requirements of military discipline also falls under the requirement of article
9(4). Review of such sanctions by a superior officer does not fulfil the
requirement of a court review.
A court must exercise real
review - When the review of the court is found to be only formal, with no
real possibility for the judge to determine the lawfulness of the detention,
the state has not guaranteed the right to review.
Right to compensation for
unlawful detention (article 9(5))
When it is established that the
detention was unlawful, the individual has a right to receive compensation.
This applies to all aspects of the rights guaranteed under article 9.
Rights of prisoners (article
Right to adequate food, basic
medical care and decent sanitary facilities - The Committee has held that
prisoners have a right to adequate food, basic medical care and decent sanitary
facilities, as well as minimal recreational facilities (for example, being
allowed out of the cell for a minimum period of time each day). It is
unacceptable under article 10(1) for a prisoner to become ill due to the prison
conditions and especially the lack of medical care. Prisoners also have a right
to have a bed or mattress to sleep on. The Committee has accepted the UN
Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (Adopted by the United
Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders,
held at Geneva in 1955, and approved by the Economic and Social Council by its
resolution 663 C (XXIV) of 31 July 1957 and 2076 (LXII) of 13 May 1977) as the
minimum standard, and will consider lower standards of treatment or detention
to be in violation of article 10(1). It makes reference to these Rules in
decisions under the Optional Protocol.
Incommunicado Detention -
Very long periods of incommunicado detention have been found to amount to violations
of article 7 (torture). However, shorter periods of incommunicado detention can
amount to a violation of article 10(1). Periods of incommunicado detention as
short as 15 days have been held by the Committee to violate article 10(1).
There is no set minimum or maximum time period which will amount to a
violation. The Committee makes its decisions on a case-by-case basis.
Prisoners have a general right to
communicate with family and friends under article 10(1), and only justifiable
restrictions are allowed.
Time spent on death row/Death
Row Phenomenon - The Committee has not found the time spent on death row in
itself to amount to a violation of article 10.
Segregation of accused from
convicted prisoners - The requirement to segregate convicted from unconvicted
persons is considered to be met when accused persons are kept in a separate
part of the building. Occasional contacts with convicted persons does not
violate article 10, paragraph 2.
Segregation of juvenile
prisoners from adults - A juvenile means a person below the age of 18. A
case on this issue has not yet been decided.
Freedom of movement (article
Freedom of movement within the
territory of a state - Restrictions to enter one's home province, district
or village are prohibited, unless justified for public order.
Asylum seekers who are
lawfully within the territory - The state can restrict freedom of movement,
but only on a case-by-case basis. Blanket restrictions on refugees' freedom of
movement are prohibited.
Freedom of choice of residence - The Committee has held that this right may be restricted to certain ethnic or
minority groups. The issue has been discussed mostly in the context of state
party reports, but in one case the Committee recognized the right of a member
of an indigenous group to live in a particular locality.
Freedom to Leave - In
several cases it has been determined that the state has an obligation to
provide its citizens with passports, even if they reside outside of the
country. However, exceptions have been found to include situations where the
citizen had not performed required military service. The Committee has also
indicated that the right of women to leave the country may not be restricted by
the requirement of the consent of her husband.
Right to enter one's own
country - This right, stipulated in paragraph 4 of article 12, applies not
only to nationals of a country, but also to persons who have "special
ties" to the country and cannot be considered mere aliens. This right
means that a person may not be expelled from a country if he or she has a claim
that it is "his own country", even if technically he or she is an
Rights of aliens (article 13)
The Committee has confined the
rights under article 13 mostly to procedural guarantees. Moreover, the Committee
has shown great deference for states' invocation of security reasons. There is
no right to asylum under the Covenant, but a person has a right to due process
in determining whether he or she should be expelled.
Right to a fair and public
hearing (article 14)
Procedural rights - The
right to a fair and public hearing is in essence a procedural one. The
Committee examines the procedural fairness of the trial only, not the fairness
of the outcome. Complaints about bias of judges, or an incorrect evaluation of
the facts, have usually not been accepted by the Committee. In the context of a
right to a fair and public hearing, the Committee will not review the facts of
a case and decide for itself what occurred (in place of an existing
determination of the facts by a domestic court). In exceptional cases, a
domestic court's decision has been corrected because it was blatantly
irreconcilable with proven facts, but such cases remain exceptional.
Complaints about procedural
fairness generally must have been raised in the original trial court (or court
of "first instance"), or on appeal, in order for the Committee to
consider the issue of procedural fairness on the merits.
The right to a public hearing has
not been interpreted as always giving a right to an oral hearing.
(article 14(1)) - The right to a fair and public hearing applies not only
to criminal cases, but also to non-criminal proceedings. The concept of a 'suit
at law' is based on the nature of the right in question, rather than the status
of the parties and includes civil claims between private parties as well as
claims against public authorities. But the alleged violation must be imputable
to the state party and not to a private adversary in a civil dispute.
Competent, independent, and
impartial tribunal - In clear cases of government influence over the
judiciary, the Committee has found that an individual was denied access to an
independent court. Trials by anonymous or "faceless" judges are also
a violation of article 14.
Right to be presumed innocent
until proven guilty (article 14(2)) - This right does not apply in civil
Right to be informed of the
nature and cause of the charge (article 14(3)(a)) - As soon as the
authorities decide to prosecute someone, they must formally inform the
individual of the law and the alleged facts.
Right to have adequate time
and facilities to prepare a defence (article 14(3)(b)) - The Committee
examines the facts of each case and the behaviour of the author to determine
whether sufficient time was available to prepare a meaningful defence. When the
state withholds certain evidence or information, this will violate the right to
adequate facilities to prepare a defence. However, there is no right to have
all documents translated into the defendant's language when he or she has the
assistance of a lawyer who understands the language of the proceedings and the
Right to be tried without
undue delay (article 14(3)(c)) - The Committee proceeds on a case-by-case
basis, and will take into account the nature of the alleged crime and the
behaviour of the author as well as the state. There is no set time that is
considered either to be reasonable or unreasonable. In some cases, the
Committee expected the author to prove that the trial could have been held
earlier, whereas in other cases it has asked the state to explain why there was
a long delay. Economic and financial difficulties do not excuse long delays,
nor does judicial backlog.
Right to be present at the
trial and defend oneself; and to have legal assistance, in certain
circumstances, paid for by the state (article 14(3)(d)) - In absentia
trials are permitted if the defendant was duly notified and informed about the
trial but failed to show up. In such cases there may be a right to demand a
It is impermissible to force a
defendant to take a specific lawyer, or choose among a limited list, when the
defendant has indicated that he or she was appointing a specific lawyer of his
or her own choice. Individuals also have a right to defend themselves without
assistance of a lawyer.
The right to legal aid is not
absolute and applies only in criminal cases.
The right to have legal aid
extends beyond the trial to the appellate level. Cases have been successfully brought
where convicted persons wanted to challenge the validity of their conviction on
appeal or before their constitutional court. The Committee has not applied the
right to legal aid to appeals that clearly have no merit, although this does
not apply to capital punishment cases.
If the state appoints a free
lawyer for the accused, that lawyer must be qualified and competent to handle
Right to examine hostile
witnesses, and obtain and examine own witnesses (article 14(3)(e)) - It is
for the author to establish that this right was violated by a refusal of the
courts to allow an examination of a certain witness.
Right to have the free
assistance of an interpreter, if necessary (article 14(3)(f)) - This right
has been interpreted narrowly. If the defendant is capable of understanding the
language of the trial and can express himself or herself in that language,
there is no right to have an interpreter.
Right to have a conviction
reviewed by a higher tribunal (article 14(5)) - This right applies only to
persons convicted of a crime. The Committee has interpreted the right of review
to mean a full review. It requires that there be the opportunity for an
appellate court to re-evaluate both the evidence and the law, and also include
a review of the sentence. The admissibility of new evidence at appeal may be
restricted, however, when the evidence was already available during the trial
at first instance.
Right to compensation in case
of miscarriage of justice (article 14(6)) - This applies only when a conviction
has been reversed, or a person convicted has been pardoned, on the ground that
a newly discovered fact showed there was a miscarriage of justice.
Right not to be tried twice
for the same offence (article 14(7)) - The prohibition on trying a person
twice for the same crime has not been applied to trials that take place in
An accused person shall benefit
from an amendment to the law providing for a lighter penalty. Article 15 only
applies to penalties and not to other measures that may be imposed by a court,
such as mandatory supervision. Parole conditions may be considered as
Recognition as a person before
the law (article 16)
Enforced Disappearance – A
violation of article 16 may occur where a person is arrested by authorities,
and then intentionally removed from protection of the law for a prolonged
period of time, with no news of their fate or investigation into their
Interference with privacy,
family, correspondence and reputation (article 17)
Privacy - The Committee
has not given an expanded definition of what is meant by "privacy",
but it has been held to include aspects of one's identity such as one's name
and the right to change it. The right to privacy has been held to protect
burial sites of indigenous peoples.
Protection of family and home - These are concepts that have to be interpreted on the facts of each case and
taking into consideration the prevailing concepts of the culture in question.
The workplace has been included under the concept "home". The
Committee takes a broad interpretation of the concept of family so as to
encompass the large meaning prevalent in certain cultures.
Protection of Correspondence - Censorship of correspondence must be prohibited by law and any interference
with correspondence must be subject to sufficient legal safeguards. Prisoners
have a right to correspond with family and friends, under reasonable
Protection of Honour and
Reputation - The state must ensure that its laws provide sufficient means
for a person to defend himself or herself against unlawful attacks. This also
means that when someone's honour is attacked by a lawful exercise of authority
(for example, disclosure of certain information during official proceedings),
this will not violate article 17. Libel campaigns by the media at the
instigation of the government are prohibited.
Right to privacy - sexual
orientation - The Committee has condemned domestic laws which criminalize
Protection of Data -
Although no cases have been decided on this issue, the Committee has indicated
that collection and storage of data must be regulated by law, and that
individuals must have access to the information that is kept about them and
have a right to correct inaccuracies.
Freedom of thought, conscience
and religion (article 18)
Although the Committee has
interpreted the freedom of thought and religion broadly and has included
atheists, it has shown little willingness to allow exceptions from legal
obligations on the basis of religious prescriptions. Limitations based upon
public health and safety, public order and public morals have been successfully
used to refuse such exceptions. In one recent case, however, the mandatory
requirement of the removal of a Sikh turban for identity photographs for a
residence permit was found to have violated article 18. Limitations on the
manifestation of religion are also possible in certain conditions.
Right to Conscientious
Objection - The right to conscientious objection has generally not been
recognized as such. However, when a state does recognize such a right, the
Committee will determine whether there are too many obstacles to effectively
exercise it. The failure to provide alternatives to compulsory military
service may constitute a violation of article 18. Moral or religious
objections against the use of violence have not been accepted as a ground to
refuse paying part of one's taxes (for example, destined for the defence
Religious education - Compulsory
religious or moral education does not violate article 18 as long as it is not
doctrinal and provides for a pluralistic view.
Freedom of opinion and
expression (article 19)
The freedom to hold an opinion is
absolute, but the freedom to express that opinion is not. Both verbal and
non-verbal expression is protected. The CCPR itself provides limits, and the
Committee has also expressed its views on the limits of expression. For
example, demolishing property during a protest is not protected expression.
Limitations are permissible in as far as they are prescribed in law to protect
the rights and reputation of others, national security, public order, public
health or morals, but only if the restrictions are proportionate to the value
that is sought to be protected.
In this context, the Committee
does not espouse one standard of morals or values, but examines the prevailing
opinion in the state in question. Thus, in some countries but not in others,
the Committee may accept bans on pornography as acceptable limits to
The Committee has also decided
several cases involving the prohibition of languages other than the official
language as a violation of the freedom of expression.
Prohibition on hate speech
The right of freedom of
expression does not extend to persons inciting racial hatred, antisemitism or
to Holocaust deniers.
Right to peaceful assembly
Article 21 includes the right to
assemble for political demonstrations. Peaceful assembly may be subject to reasonable
restrictions, but permission to demonstrate may not be denied arbitrarily.
Freedom of association
The right to form associations
(including political parties, non-governmental organizations, trade unions and
sporting clubs) is not absolute. Limitations for reasons of national security,
public order or other grounds may be acceptable. The Committee has upheld a
state ban on neo-fascist parties as a reasonable limitation.
The Committee has not extended
article 22 to include a right to strike. It has not had the opportunity to
decide whether forced membership in an association can be compatible with
Protection of the family
The Committee has adopted a
broad, culturally sensitive definition of "family".
Family unification - With
respect to spouses of different nationalities, a state cannot unreasonably, or
on discriminatory grounds, interfere or restrict access of foreign spouses to
each other. Deportation which results in the splitting of a family is not in
itself contrary to article 23. In extraordinary circumstances the Committee
has decided that the removal of family members would be a violation of article
Equality of spouses during
marriage and at its dissolution - The Committee has been very reluctant to
scrutinize the judgments of domestic courts in these matters, on the grounds
that they involve very personal matters and factual evaluation of the
circumstances in each case.
Child protection proceedings – The Committee will generally defer to the findings of domestic courts in
cases of the termination of parental custody and access. However, in
exceptional cases, the Committee has reviewed the sufficiency the legal process
that took place to terminate family bonds.
Children's rights (article 24)
The CCPR does not contain a
definition of "child". The Committee has left it to states to
determine the majority age in each country, except in matters of criminal law
and the age of criminal liability.
A violation of article 24 was
found where a state refused to give legal standing in its domestic courts to a
grandmother, in proceedings involving her orphaned and abducted grandchild. A
minor seeking asylum may be detained while his or her case is being examined.
Political rights and
participation in public life (article 25)
One-party political systems have
been found to violate article 25. The rights under article 25 to participate in
public life are not absolute, however, and restrictions are allowed as long as
they are not discriminatory, or unreasonable and based on objective criteria.
Nevertheless, the Committee has held that the right to equal access to public
service was violated when public servants were dismissed on the basis of their
Equality and Freedom from
discrimination (article 26)
Article 26 includes several
concepts, including equality before the law, equal protection of the law, the
prohibition of discrimination, and equal and effective protection against
Article 26 obligates states to
ensure that legislation applies to all people in a non- discriminatory manner.
This obligation applies to all the rights and protections that a state affords
in its laws. If a author can establish that a right exists in domestic law, he
or she can bring a claim for violation of article 26 if there is any
discrimination in the application of that law. Article 26 is an autonomous
right to equality and non-discrimination, not limited to the rights enumerated
in the Covenant. Hence, article 26 can extend to civil and political rights
beyond the Covenant such as the right to property, and to economic, social and
cultural rights, including social security. Different treatment has been found
to violate article 26, for example, in a case in which some categories of
persons received less social security benefits on grounds which the Committee
held were arbitrary, and a case in which compensation for confiscated
properties was not disbursed in an equitable manner. The latter occurred in the
context of post-Communist restitution legislation containing conditions for
restitution or compensation which the Committee found to be arbitrary.
Article 26 specifies that race,
colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion or social origin,
property, birth or other status are prohibited grounds for discrimination. The
Committee decides on a case-by-case basis what "other grounds" also
fall under article 26, or the meaning of "other status". It has found
a number of additional grounds.
There have been clear-cut cases
where the legislation itself has discriminated, for example, against women, and
violations of both articles 3 and 26 have been found. Other cases have been
more subtle, in that the law was not discriminatory on its face, but its
application was discriminatory.
According to the Committee, the
right to equality before the law and to equal protection of the law without any
discrimination does not make all differences of treatment discriminatory. A
differentiation will amount to prohibited discrimination where it is not based
on reasonable and objective criteria.
The Committee is of the opinion
that affirmative action is sometimes required, and hence when proportionate, is
not a violation of the anti-discrimination provision.
Rights of minorities (article
There is no definition of
'minority' in the CCPR. The Committee determines itself whether a minority is
involved in a certain case and whether a person belongs to that minority. It
does not rely on the state's position on these issues. Importantly, the
Committee looks at the country as a whole to determine the existence of a
minority. It has not regarded persons belonging to the overall majority as
minorities in specific regions or provinces which are dominated by the minority
on state level.
Indigenous peoples, although
considered distinct from minorities generally under international law, also
enjoy the protection of article 27.
The right to exercise culture
comprises not only traditional practices and religions, but also the broader
way of life and specific socio-economic activities which are specific to the
group, for example, reindeer husbandry by the Scandinavian Sami.
Interference by large-scale
industrial logging or mining activity on the territory of minorities or
indigenous peoples, may violate article 27.
These cases are only samples of
decisions made by the Human Rights Committee, or suggested from its General
Comments, or concluding observations on state reports. This list is not
exhaustive, and individuals are entitled to make many more kinds of claims on the
basis of the rights in the CCPR.