Human Rights > International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights - Optional Protocol
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Adopted UN General Assembly
Resolution 2200 A (XXI) on 16 December 1966
Entry into force 23 March 1976 in accordance with article 9
State Parties to the
The First Optional Protocol to the Covenant provides for the confidential
consideration of communications from individuals who claim to be victims of a violation of
any of the rights proclaimed in the Covenant. No communications can be received by the
Human Rights Committee if it concerns a State party to the Covenant that is not also a
party to the Optional Protocol. The Human Rights Committee was established to monitor the
implementation of the Covenant and its related Protocols on the territory of the States
The States Parties to the present Covenant,
Considering that in order further to achieve the purposes of the Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights (hereinafter referred to as the Covenant) and the implementations of its
provisions it would be appropriate to enable the Human Rights Committee set up in part IV
of the Covenant (hereinafter referred to as the Committee) to receive and consider, as
provided in the present Protocol, communications from individuals claiming to be victims
of violations of any of the rights set forth in the Covenant.
Have agreed as follows:
A State Party to the Covenant that becomes a party to the present Protocol recognizes
the competence of the Committee to receive and consider communications from individuals
subject to its jurisdiction who claim to have been victims of a violation by that State
Party of any of the rights set forth in the Covenant. No communication shall be received
by the Committee if it concerns a State Party to the Covenant which is not a party to the
Subject to the provisions of article 1, individuals who claim that any of their rights
enumerated in the Covenant have been violated and who have exhausted all available
domestic remedies may submit a written communication to the Committee for consideration.
The Committee shall consider inadmissible any communication under the present Protocol
which is anonymous, or which it considers to be an abuse of the right of submission of
such communications or to be incompatible with the provisions of the Covenant.
(1) Subject to the provisions of article 3, the Committee shall bring any
communications submitted to it under the present Protocol to the attention of the State
Party to the present Protocol alleged to be violating any provisions of the Covenant.
(2) Within six months, the receiving State shall submit to the Committee written
explanations or statements clarifying the matter and the remedy, if any, that may have
been taken by that State.
(1) The Committee shall consider communications received under the present Protocol in
the light of all written information made available to it by the individual and by the
State Party concerned.
(2) The Committee shall not consider any communication from an individual unless it has
(a) The same matter is not being examined under another procedure of international
investigation or settlement;
(b) The individual has exhausted all domestic remedies. This shall not be the rule
where the applications of the remedies is unreasonably prolonged.
(3) The Committee shall hold closed meetings when examining communications under the
(4) The Committee shall forward its views to the State Party concerned and the
The Committee shall include in its annual report under article 45 of the Covenant a
summary of its activities under the present Protocol.
Pending the achievement of the objectives of resolution 1514 (XV) adopted by the
General Assembly of the United Nations on 14 December 1960 concerning the Declaration on
the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, the provisions of the
present Protocol shall in no way limit the right of petition granted to these peoples by
the Charter of the United Nations and other international conventions and instruments
under the United Nations and its specialized agencies.
(1) The present Covenant is open for signature by any State which has signed the
(2) The present Protocol is subject to ratification by any State which has ratified or
acceded to the Covenant. Instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the Secretary
General of the United Nations.
(3) The present Protocol shall be open to accession by any State which has ratified or
acceded to the Covenant.
(4) Accession shall be effected by the deposit of an instrument of accession with the
Secretary-General of the United Nations.
(5) The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall inform all States which have
signed the present Protocol or acceded to it of the deposit of each instrument of
ratification or accession.
(1) Subject to the entry into force of the Covenant, the present Protocol shall enter
into force three months after the date of the deposit with the Secretary-General of the
United Nations of the tenth instrument of ratification or instrument of accession.
(2) For each State ratifying the present Protocol or acceding to it after the deposit
of the tenth instrument of ratification or instrument of accession, the present Covenant
shall enter into force three months after the date of the deposit of its own instrument of
ratification or instrument of accession.
The provisions of the present Protocol shall extend to all parts of federal States
without limitations or expectations.
(1) Any State Party to the present Protocol may propose an amendment and file it with
the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The Secretary-General of the United Nations
shall thereupon communicate any proposed amendments to the States Parties to the present
Protocol with a request that they notify him whether they favour a conference of States
Parties for the purpose of considering and voting upon the proposals. In the event that at
least one third of all States Parties favours such a conference, the Secretary-General
shall convene the conference under the auspices of the United Nations. Any amendments
adopted by a majority of the States Parties present and voting at the conference shall be
submitted to the General Assembly of the United Nations for approval.
(2) Amendments shall come into force when they have been approved by the General
Assembly of the United Nations and accepted by a two-thirds majority of the States Parties
to the present Protocol in accordance with their respective constitutional processes.
(3) When amendments come into force, they shall be binding on those States Parties
which have accepted them, other States Parties still being bound by the provisions of the
present Protocol and earlier amendments which they have accepted.
(1) Any State Party may denounce the present Protocol at any time by written
notification addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Denunciation shall
take effect three months after the date of receipt of the notification by the
(2) Denunciation shall be without prejudice to the continued application of the
provisions of the present Protocol to any communication submitted under article 3 before
the effective date of the denunciation.
Irrespective of the notifications made under article 8, paragraph 5, the
Secretary-General of the United Nations shall inform all States referred to in article 48,
paragraph 1 of the Covenant of the following particulars:
(a) Signatures, ratifications and accessions under article 8;
(b) The date of the entry into force of the present Protocol under article 9 and the
date of entry into force of any amendments under article 11;
(c) Denunciation under article 12.
(1) The present Protocol, of which the Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish
texts are equally authentic, shall be deposited in the archives of the United Nations.
(2) The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall transmit certified copies of the
present Protocol to all States referred to in article 48 of the Covenant.
95 States are parties to the
Optional Protocol as at April 1999
Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium,
Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Central
African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia,
Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Dominican Republic,
Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia,
Germany, Greece, and Guinea.
Also Guyana, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Libya, Liechtenstein,
Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malta, Mauritius, Mongolia, Namibia, Nepal,
Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines,
Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Vincent and the
Grenadines, San Marino, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia,
Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Tajikistan, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,
Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Uganda,
Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Zambia.