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 States. The Commission of 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 and adopted by the General Assembly, by 66 votes to 2 with 38 abstentions. The two entered into force in 1976 after 35 States had ratified or accessed to each of them.

Two conventions on the Declaration of Human Rights: 

                The rights embodied in the universal declaration of human rights have been set forth in two Covenants - 

1) The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and

2) The international Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

               The Covenant on Civil and Political Rights consists of 53 Articles and divided into six parts. While in the part I, II and III various rights and freedoms are enumerated, the other three parts are devoted with the implementation procedures for effective a realization of these Rights along with the final clauses.

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 realization of the rights of self determination and shall respect that rights. The Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights also stipulated the above provisions in toto under Article 1.

Part II stipulated Rights and obligations of the States Parties to the Covenant. It included the obligations of the States to take necessary steps to incorporate the provisions of the Covenant in the domestic laws and to adopt the legislative or other measures as may be necessary to give effect on the rights recognized in the Covenant. The States ensure the equal rights of men and woman to the enjoyment of Civil and Political Rights.

Substantive Rights 

Part III, Article 6 to Article 27 deals with the specific Rights of the individuals and the obligations of the States Parties.

1) The Rights to life:
      Every Human being has the inherent Right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrary deprived of his life. (Article.6)

2) Freedom from inhuman or degrading treatment:
                    No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In particular, no one shall be subjected without his free consent to medical or scientific experimentation.
3) Prohibition of slavery, the slave trade and forced labor:

                   No one shall be held in slavery; slavery and the slave-trade in all their forms shall be prohibited. No one shall be held in servitude. No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labor. (Article.8).

4) Right to Liberty and security: 

                    Everyone has the right to Liberty and security of person. No one shall be subject to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his Liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law. Anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his arrest and shall be promptly informed of any charges against him.
Anyone who is deprived of his Liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings before a court, in order that court may decide without delay on the lawfulness of his detention and order his release if the detention is not lawful. Anyone who has been the victim of unlawful arrest or detention shall have an enforceable right to compensation. (Article.9)

5) Right of detenu to be treated with humanity -

                    All persons deprived of their Liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the Human person. Accused persons shall, save in exceptional circumstances, be segregated from convicted persons and shall be subject to separate treatment appropriate to their status as unconvicted persons; Accused Juvenile persons shall be separated from adults and brought as speedily as possible for adjudication. The penitentiary system shall comprise treatment of prisoners the essential aim of which shall be their reformation and social rehabilitation. Juvenile offenders shall be treated according to their age and legal status. (Article 10).

6) Freedom from imprisonment for inability to fulfill a contractual obligation -

                   No one shall be imposed merely on the ground of inability to fulfill the contractual obligation. (Article.11)

7) Freedom of movement and to choose his residence - 

                    Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory have the right to Liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence. Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including, his own. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country. (Article.12)

8) Freedom of aliens from arbitrary expulsion -

                   An alien lawfully in the territory of a State party to present Covenant maybe explain their home only in pursuance of a decision reached in accordance with law and shall, except where compelling reasons of national security, otherwise require, be allowed to submit the reasons against his expulsion and to have his case reviewed by, and be represented for the purpose before the competent authority or a person or persons especially designated by the competent authority.

9) Right to fair trial:

                      All persons shall be equal before the courts and tribunals. In the determination of any criminal charge against him or of his rights and obligations in a suit of law, everyone shall be entitled to a fair and public hearing of a competent, Independent and impartial tribunal established by law. The press and the public may be excluded from all or part of a trial for reasons of morals, public order or national security in a democratic society, or where the interest of the private lives of the parties so requires or the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the court in special circumstances where publicly publicity would prejudice the  interest of justice; but any judgment rendered in a criminal case or in a suit at law shall be made public except where the interest of Juvenile a person’s otherwise requires, or  the proceedings concern Matrimonial disputes or the guardianship of children.

Everyone charged with a criminal offense shall have the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.

 In the determination of any criminal charge against him, everyone shall be entitled to the following minimum guarantees, in full equality:

(a) To be informed promptly and in detail in a language which he understands of the nature and cause of the charge against him.

(b) To have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defense and to communicate with Counsel of his own choosing;

(c) To be tried without undue delay.

(d) To be tried in his presence, and defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own choosing; to be informed, if he does not have a legal assistance of this right; and to have a Legal assistance, assigned to him, in any case where the interests of justice so require, and without payment by him in any such case if he does not have sufficient mean to pay for it;

(e) To examine, or have examined, the witnesses against him and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him;

(f) To have the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or speak the language used in the court.

(g) Not to be compelled to testify against himself or to confess guilt
In the case of juvenile persons, the procedure shall be such as will take account of their age and the desirability of promoting their rehabilitation.

          Everyone convicted of a crime shall have the right to his conviction and sentence being reviewed by a higher tribunal according to law

          When a person has by a final decision been convicted of a criminal offense and when subsequently his conviction has been reserved or he has been pardoned on the ground that a new or newly discovered fact shows conclusively that there had been a miscarriage of justice, the person, who has suffered punishment as a result of such conviction shall be compensated according to law, unless, it is proved that the non disclosure of the unknown fact in time is wholly or partly attributable to him.

            No one shall be liable to be tried or punished again for an offense which he has already been finally convicted or acquitted in accordance with the laws of each country. (Article 14)

10) Non retroactive application of criminal law -

                      No one shall be held guilty of any criminal offense on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a criminal offense, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall have heavier penalty be imposed then the one that was applicable at the time when the criminal offense was committed. If, subsequent to the commission of the offense, provision is made by law for imposition of a lighter penalty, the offender shall benefit thereby. (Article 15)

11) Right To Recognition as a person before the law - 

Everyone shall have the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law. (Article 16)

12) Right to privacy, Family, Home or correspondence -

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, or to unlawful attack on his honor and reputation.
Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interface or attack.
 (Article 17)

13) Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion  

                 Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest which his religion or Belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.

                 No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.

                  Freedom to manifest one's religion or belief may be subject only to such limitations are as prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.

                  The States parties to the present Covenant undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions. (Article 18)

14) Freedom of Opinion and Expression

                    Everyone shall have right to hold opinions without interference.
Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of act, or through any other media of his choice.

                    The exercise of the rights provided in paragraph 2 of this Article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may, therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary ------
(a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others;

(b) For the protection of national security or public order, or of public health or morals. (Article 19)

15 Prohibition of Propaganda of War
1. Any propaganda for war shall be prohibited by law.

2. Any advocacy of National, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law. (Article 20)

16) Right to Peaceful Assembly 

                        The right of peaceful assembly shall be recognized. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right other than those imposed in conformity with law  which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order, the protection of Public Health or morals or the protection of rights and freedom of others. (Article 21)

17) Freedom of Association 

                           Everyone shall have the right to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of right other than those which are prescribed by law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interest of national security or public safety, public order, the protection of Public Health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

                           This Article shall not prevent the imposition of Lawful restrictions on members of the armed forces and of the police and their exercise of this right.

                             Nothing in this article shall authorize States parties to the International Labor convention of 1948 concerning freedom of association and protection of the right to organize to take legislative measures which would prejudice, or to apply the law in such a manner as to prejudice,  the guarantees provided for in that convention.(Article 22)

18) Right to Marry and Found a Family

                                The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and by the State.The right of men and women of marriageable age to marry and to found a family shall be recognized.No marriage shall be entered into without free and full consent of the intending spouses.State Parties to the present covenant shall take appropriate steps to ensure equality of rights and responsibilities of spouses as to marriage, during marriage and its dissolution. In the case of dissolution, provision shall be made for the necessary protection of any children. (Article 23)

19) Right of the Child

                                   Every child shall have, without any discrimination as to race, color, sex, language, religion national or social or origin, property or birth, the right to such a measure of protection as are required by his status as a minor, on the part of his family, society and the State.
Every child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have a name.
Every child has the right to acquire a nationality. (Article 24)

20) Right to take part in the conduct of public affairs, to vote and to be selected

                                      Every citizen shall have the right and the opportunity, without any of the distinctions mentioned in Article 2 and without unreasonable restrictions ----

(a) To take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives

(b) To vote and to be elected as genuine periodic elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot, guaranteeing the free expression of the will of electors?

(c) To have access, on general terms of equality, to public service in his country. (Article 25)

 21) Equality before law

                                       All persons are equal before law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of law. In this respect, the law shall prohibit any discrimination and guarantees to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on any ground such as race, color, sex,  language, political or other opinion, National or social origin, Property, birth or other status.(Article 26)

22) Rights of Minorities

In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion, or to use their own language. (Article 27)

            The above the right set forth in the covenant are not absolute and are subject to certain limitations. While the formulation of these limitations differed in so far as details are concerned from Article. to Article, it could 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 are the rights and freedoms of others.
Civil and Political Rights in Emergency

                       The covenant made provision under Article 4 relating to public emergency, which threatens the life of the nation.  Para -I of the above Article lays down that the State Parties to the covenant may take measures derogating from their 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 ensuring 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 (Article 6)

2) Freedom from inhuman or degrading treatment (Article 7)

3) Freedom from slavery, slave trade (Article 8 Para 1) and servitude (Article 8 Para 2);

4)  Freedom from imprisonment for inability to fulfill a contractual obligations (Article. 11);

5) Non-retroactive application of criminal law (Article 15);

6) Right to recognition as a person before the law (Article 16); and

7) The freedom of thought, conscience and religion (Article.18)

                      Any state party to the Covenant availing itself of the rights of derogation shall immediately inform the other States parties to the Covenant through the intermediary of the Secretary-general of the United Nations, of the provision from which it has derogated and of the reasons by which it was actuated. A further communication shall be made, through the same intermediary, on the date on which it terminates such derogation.
Implementation Procedure 

                      Part - IV of the Covenant laid down the procedure for the implementation. A provision was made for the establishment of the Human Rights committee, which was the monitoring body under the Covenant.

                       The third Committee of Economic and Social Council submitted the report to General Assembly in respect of Specific Rights and General Assembly on 16th December 1966 adopted International Covenant on Civil and Political Right. This Covenant consists of 53 Articles.  Part III of the Covenant deals with the Specific Rights of the individuals and the Obligations of the State Parties.   These Rights set forth in the Covenant are not absolute but subject to certain limitation. This Covenant is legally binding on the State and also lays down the procedure for implementation.


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