International 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.

Salient Features of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966


1) Part – I (Article 1 to Article 4)  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

2) Part II –  (Article 2 to Article 5) : 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.



3) Part III - (Article 6 to Article 27) - Part III of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966, deals with the specific rights of the individuals and the obligations of the State parties.


  (i) Right To Life (Article 6) - Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.


  (ii) Freedom from inhuman or degrading treatment (Article 7) - No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

 (iii) Right to Liberty and Security (Article 9) - Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected 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.


See also.....Origin and development of Human Rights | Human Rights and International Law


 (iv) Right of Detenu to be treated with humanity (Article 10) - All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.

             (a) 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;

             (b) 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 segregated from adults and be accorded treatment appropriate to their age and legal status.


See also...... When Accused is Entitled to Compensation ?


   (v) Freedom from imprisonment for inability to fulfill a contractual obligation (Article 11) -  No one shall be imprisoned merely on the ground of inability to fulfill a contractual obligation.

  (vi) Freedom of movement and to choose his residence (Article 12) - 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.

  (vii) Freedom of Aliens from arbitrary expulsion (Article 13) - An alien lawfully in the territory of a State Party to the present Covenant may be expelled therefrom 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.

  (viii) Right to Fair Trial (Article 14) - 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 at law, everyone shall be entitled to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law.


See....Universal Declaration of Human Rights and The Constitution of India


  (ix) No Retroactive Application of Criminal Law (Article 15) - 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 the national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time when the criminal offence was committed.

   (x) Right to Recognition as a person before the Law (Article 16) - Everyone shall have the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

  (xi) Right to Privacy, Family, Home, or correspondence (Article 17) -  No one shall be subjected to arbitrary unlawful interference with his privacy, family, or correspondence, or to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

  (xii) Freedom of thought (Article 18) -  Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest 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 beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are 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.


See also....Kinds of Civil and political rights | Human Rights

   (xiii) Freedom of Opinion and expression (Article 19) -  Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include 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 art, or through any other media of his choice.

   (xiv) Prohibition of Propaganda of War (Article 20) - Any propaganda for war shall be prohibited by law. Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.


   (xv)Right to Peaceful assembly (Article 21) - 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 the law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order (ordre public), the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.


See also.....Human Rights of Prisoners | Human Rights

   (xvi) Freedom of Association (Article 22) - 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 this right other than those which are prescribed by law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order (ordre public), 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 in their exercise of this right.


   (xvii) Right to marry and found a Family (Article 23) - The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and 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 the free and full consent of the intending spouses. States Parties to the present Covenant shall take appropriate steps to ensure equality of rights and responsibilities of spouses as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. In the case of dissolution, provision shall be made for the necessary protection of any children.

  (xviii) Right of the Child (Article 24) - Every child shall have, without any discrimination as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, national or social origin, property or birth, the right to such measures 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.


See also.... Human Rights of Children and International Instruments to Protect their Rights


   (xix) Right to take part in the conduct of public affairs, to vote and to be selected (Article 25) - 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 at genuine periodic elections this shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot, guaranteeing the free expression of the will of the electors;
           (c) To have access, on general terms of equality, to public service in his country.

     (xx) Equality before Law (Article 26) -  All persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law. In this respect, the law shall prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on any ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

     (xxi) Rights of Minorities (Article 27) - 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 practise their own religion, or to use their own language.

Part IV - (Article 28 to  45) Part IV of the International 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 continent.


See also

Human Rights under UN Charter

Position of Women under the International Law | Women and Human Rights

Provisions for Minorities In Indian Constitution



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