Helsinki Committee for Human Rights









First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

The First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is an international treaty establishing an individual complaint mechanism for the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). It was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 16 December 1966, and entered into force on 23 March 1976. As of January 2018, it had 3 signatories and 116 states parties. Two of the ratifying states-Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago-have denounced the protocol.

The Optional Protocol establishes an individual complaints mechanism for the ICCPR similar to those of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Article 14 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Parties agree to recognise the competence of the UN Human Rights Committee to consider complaints from individuals who claim their rights under the Covenant have been violated. Several complainants must have exhausted all domestic remedies, and anonymous complaints are not permitted. The Committee must bring complaints to the attention of the relevant party, which must respond within six months. Following consideration, the Committee must forward its conclusions to the party and the complainant.

While not expressly provided for in the Protocol, the HRC regards the recognition of its competence to hear complaints as imposing an obligation not to hinder access to the Committee and to prevent any retaliation against complainants. It regards its findings as authoritative determinations of obligations under the Covenant, and their adoption as being required in order to provide an "effective remedy" under Article 2 of the ICCPR.

Chile, Croatia, El Salvador, France, Germany, Guatemala, Malta, Russia, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, and Turkey consider the Optional Protocol to only apply to complaints which arose after it entered into force for those countries.

Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Turkey and Uganda do not recognise the jurisdiction of the HRC to consider complaints which have already been considered under another international complaint procedure.

Germany and Turkey do not recognise the jurisdiction of the HRC to hear complaints resulting from Article 26 of the ICCPR, covering discrimination and equality before the law, except insofar as they relate to rights expressly affirmed in the Covenant.

Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago do not recognise the jurisdiction of the HRC to hear complaints relating to their use of the death penalty.

Venezuela does not recognise the competence of the HRC to hear complaints regarding in-absentia trials for offences against the republic.















November 2, 2011

10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Please join the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe for a hearing that explores the nexus between Transnational Organized Crime and Human Trafficking.

Organized Crime has evolved to meet the challenges of globalization and modern technology. In this evolution major international criminal organizations and smaller highly specialized groups of criminal entrepreneurs have found new ways to expand their operations and exploit human beings into slavery. To meet these challenges new national and international strategies have been placed into action, but their results remain to be seen. This continues the Helsinki Commission’s hearing series on new fronts in human trafficking. This hearing will focus on: (1) the evolving nature of Transnational Organized Crime, (2) the role of major international organized crime groups and smaller organized criminal syndicates in human trafficking, (3) identified trends, and (4) strategies to combat these organizations and prevent the trafficking of human beings.
















Copyright * Helsinki Committee for Human Rights 2011