The Universal declaration of human rights stated the common standard of achievement for the enjoyment and protection of human rights. It was not legally binding on the state. The commission on human rights decided to draw up a separate covenant, which would be a covenant on such specific Rights as would lend themselves binding legal obligation. The document was to be known as International Covenant on human rights on the recommendation of the third committee. The general assembly on 16th December 1966 adopted two covenants are as follows : 

(1)      International covenant on civil and political rights ;

(2)      International covenant on economic, social and cultural rights;

(3)      Covenant on civil and political rights consists of 53 Articles and is divided into six part.

While in parts I, II and third various rights and freedoms are enumerated, the other three parts are devoted with implementation procedure for effective relations of these rights along with the final clause 
Article – 1 : which refers to the rights of peoples to self determination states that all peoples have the rights freely to determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development and may, for their own ends, freely dispose of their natural wealth and resource without prejudice to any principles of mutual benefit and international law. The Article Further states that in no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence, and that the states parties shall promote the relations of the rights of self-determinations and shall respect that right. 

The covenant on economic; social and cultural rights also stipulated the above provisions in toto under Act.-1

Part II – Stipulated rights and obligation of the state parties to the covenants. It included the obligation of the states to take necessary steps to incorporate the provision of the covenant in the domestic laws and to adopt such legislative or other measures as may be necessary to give effect on the rights recognized in the covenant the state parties ensure the equal rights of men and women to the enjoyment of all civil and political rights.

Substantive Rights 

           Part III deals with the specific rights of the individual and the obligation of the state parties.

  • The right to life (Article 6)
  • Freedom from inhuman or degradation treatment (Article 7)
  • Freedom from slavery, servitude and forced labor  (Article 8
  • Right to liberty and security (Article 9)
  • Right of detenu to be treated with humanity (Article 10)
  • Freedom from imprisonment from inability fulfill a contractual obligation (Article 11)
  • Freedom of movement and to choose his residence (Article 12)
  • Freedom of aliens from arbitrary expulsion (Article 13)
  • Right to a fair trial (Article 14)
  • Non-retroactive applications of criminal law (Article 15)
  • Right to recognition as a person before the law (Article 16)
  • Right to privacy, family , home or correspondence (Article 17)
  • Freedom of thoughts conscience and religion (Article 18)
  • Freedom of opinion and expression (Article 19)
  • Prohibition of propaganda of war (Article 20)
  • Right of peaceful assembly (Article 21)
  • Freedom of association (Article 22)
  • Right to marry and found family (Article 23)
  • Right of the child (Article 24)
  • Right to take part in the conduct of public affairs, to vote and to be selected (Article 25)
  • Equality before the law (Article 26)
  • Right of minorities (Article 27)
          The above rights set forth in the covenant are not absolute and are subject to certain limitations while the formulation of the limitations differed in so far as details are concerned from Article to Article.  It could be said that by and large the covenant provided that rights should not be subjected to any restrictions except those which were provided by law, were necessary to protect national security, public order, public health or morals or the rights and freedoms of others.

      Civil and Political Rights in Emergency 

          The covenant made provisions under Article 4 relating to the public emergency, which threatens the life of the nation. Para-1 of the above art. Lays down that state the parties to the covenant may take measures derogating from obligations under the covenant to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situations. Thus, the declaration of emergency permits a state to suspend human rights. However, the restrictions must be provided by law and applied solely for the purpose for which they have been provided. Further, they should not give rise to any discrimination on the grounds of race, sex, color language religion or social conditions the scope and ambit of judicial review and judicial independence must be ensured at all times.
    The covenant under para 2 of article 4 provided that there are certain rights in respect of which no derogation can be .made for instance...

1) There cannot be any derogation in the rights to life (Art.6) ;
2) Freedom from inhuman degrading treatment (Art.7);
3) Freedom from slavery, slave trade (Art.8 para.1 )  and servitude (Article.8 para.2);
4) Freedom from imprisonment from inability fulfill  a contractual obligation (Art.11);
5) Non-retroactive application of criminal law (Art.15)
6) Right to recognition as a person before the law (Art.16)
7) The freedom of thought conscience and religion (Art18)

       Any state party to the covenant availing itself of the rights of derogation shall immediately inform the other state parties to the covenant through the intermediary of the secretary-general of the united nations, of the provisions from which it has derogated and of the reasons by which it was actuated. Further communication shall be made through the same intermediary, on the date on which it terminates such derogation.

Implementation  –
  Part IV of the covenant laid down the procedure from the implementation. A provision was made the establishment of the human rights committee, which was the monetary body under the covenant.

Conclusion –

          The third committee of economic and social council submitted the report to the general assembly in respect of specific rights and general assembly on 16th December 1966 adopted international covenant on the civil and political right. This covenant consists of 53 Articles. Part III of the covenant deals with specific rights of individuals and the obligations of the state parties. These rights set forth in the covenant are not absolute but subject to certain limitations. This is covenant is legally binding on the state and also lays down the procedure for Implementation.     


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