International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

The UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is an official internationally recognized treaty that puts into legal terms the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is the counterpart to the UN Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. The ICCPR outlines traditional human rights as they appear throughout various historic documents. On 16 December 1966, both Covenants were adopted by the General Assembly without any abstentions. [i] In 2012, 167 states were parties to the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Goal: To legalize and extend the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from declaration to action.

Non-signatory states: Cuba, Western Sahara, Guinea Bissau, Saudi-Arabia, Oman, United Arab Emirates, China, Pakistan, Laos, Burma, Malaysia and Nauru.

Relevant Clauses[ii]


Article 1

2.     […] In no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence.


Article 1 All peoples freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources

Article 2  Prohibition of discrimination and the right to effective remedy

Article 3 Equality of women and men

Article 6

1.    Every human being has the inherent right to life. […] No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.

Article 7

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. […] no one shall be subjected without his free consent to medical or scientific experimentation.

Article 8

1.    No one shall be held in slavery; slavery and the slave-trade in all their forms shall be prohibited.

2.    No one shall be held in servitude.

3.     a)    No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour;

Article 9

1.     Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. […]

Article 19

2.     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.

Article 21

The right of peaceful assembly shall be recognized. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right […]

Article 22

1.    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. […]

Article 26

[…], the law shall prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination […]

Article 27

In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, […] minorities shall not be denied the right, […] to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practise their own religion, or to use their own language.

[i] International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – Main Page. (n.d.). United Nations – Office of Legal Affairs. Retrieved from

[ii] United Nations General Assembly. (n.d.). International Covenant in Civil and Political Rights. Retrieved from Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights: