The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) commits all State parties (currently 167) to protect the civil and political rights of all individuals. There are currently 35 General Comments which clarify the scope and content of ICCPR’s provisions, which can be accessed here.
ICCPR includes protection of the right to: life; liberty; fair trial; freedom of expression, religion and association and freedom from slavery and torture. ICCPR, when combined with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), makes up what is referred to as the International Bill of Human Rights.
ICCPR was adopted in 1966 and entered into force in 1976. The UK ratified ICCPR on in May 1976.
State parties are obliged to produce reports to the Committee which outline progress and legislative, judicial and policy measures taken to fulfil their obligations under the Convention. Each State is expected to submit a report one year after consenting to the Convention and then after, at the request of the Committee (usually every four years).
The last full review of the UK took place in August 2015 and the accompanying Concluding Observations can be accessed here. The next state report is due to be submitted in July 2020, with the review tabled to take place in 2022.
The Committee considered the situation of the United Kingdom at its 128th Session in March 2020, publishing the List of Issues prior to Reporting which the UK Government must respond to in its periodic report.
More information on the reporting status and access to all relevant documentation including: State reports, Civil society & NHRI submissions; Concluding Observations and follow-up State reports can be accessed here.
In order to support the UK review of ICCPR, the Commission has undertaken a number of activities, including:
- Preparation of a List of Issues parallel report, submitted January 2020.
- Submission of parallel report at the last review held in 2015
- Provided oral evidence and attended the UK State Review in 2015
- Met with the Committee members and/or country rapporteur
- Met the UK Government representative before and after the review in Geneva.
As part of each review the Commission produces a list of recommendations for the Committee to ask of the UK State. For the List of Issues prior to reporting, the Commission made 188 recommendations for the Committee ask the United Kingdom.
Civil Society Engagement
Civil society has the potential to engage with this treaty in a number of ways:
- Submitting written information to the Committee
- Submitting an alternative report
- Providing information for the list of issues
- Attending Sessions and Making Oral Submissions to the Committee
Please see the Committee webpage for copies of different civil society reports submitted for the List of Issues Prior to Reporting.
- The ratification of international Human Rights treaties; the reporting cycles and all the documents related to a reporting cycle
- Details on the sessions of the Committee may be found here.
- Details on engagement with the Committee may be found here.
- A full list of the current Committee members is available here.
- The UN Handbook for Civil Society can be accessed here.
- A Factsheet about the work of the Committee can be accessed here.
- Information on the relationship of the Human Rights Committee with non-governmental organizations can be found here.
Guidelines for State reporting for ICCPR (civil society reports should resemble the structure of State reports) can be found here.