United Nations International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights (1966)
The States Parties to the present Covenant,
Considering that, in accordance with the principles proclaimed
in the Charter of the United Nations, recognition of the inherent
dignity and of the equal and unalienable rights of all members
of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and
peace in the world,
Recognizing that these rights derive from the inherent dignity
of the human person,
Recognizing that, in accordance with the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights, the ideal of free human beings enjoying civil
and political freedom and freedom from fear and want can only
be achieved if conditions are created whereby everyone may enjoy
his civil and political rights, as well as his economic, social
and cultural rights,
Considering the obligation of States under the Charter of
the United Nations to promote universal respect for, and observance
of, human rights and freedoms,
Realizing that the individual, having duties to other individuals
and to the community to which he belongs, is under a responsibility
to strive for the promotion and observance of the rights recognized
in the present Covenant,
Agree upon the following articles:
1. All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue
of the right they freely determine their political status and
freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
2. All peoples may, for their own ends, freely dispose of
their natural wealth and resources without prejudice to any obligations
arising out of international economic cooperation, based upon
the principle of mutual benefit, and international law. In no
case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence.
3. The States Parties to the present Covenant, including those
having responsibility for the administration of Non-Self-Governing
and Trust Territories, shall promote the realization of the right
of self-determination, and shall respect that right, in conformity
with the provisions of the United Nations Charter.
1. Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to
respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory
and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the present
Covenant, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color,
sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national
or social origin, property, birth or other status.
2. Where not already provided for by existing legislative
or other measures, each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes
to take the necessary steps, in accordance with its constitutional
processes and with the provisions of the present Covenant, to
adopt such legislative or other measures as may be necessary to
give effect to the rights recognized in the present Covenant.
3. Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes:
a. To ensure that any person whose rights or freedoms as herein
recognized are violated shall have an effective remedy notwithstanding
that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an
b. To ensure that any person claiming such a remedy shall
have his right thereto determined by competent judicial, administrative
or legislative authorities, or by any other competent authority
provided for by the legal system of the State, and to develop
the possibilities of judicial remedy;
c. To ensure that the competent authorities shall enforce
such remedies when granted.
The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to ensure
the equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of all civil
and political rights set forth in the present Covenant.
1. In time of public emergency which threatens the life of
the nation and the existence of which is officially proclaimed,
the States Parties to the present Covenant may take measures derogating
from their obligations under the present Covenant to the extent
strictly required by the exigencies of the situation, provided
that such measures are not inconsistent with their other obligations
under international law and do not involve discrimination solely
on the ground of race, color, sex, language, religion or social
2. No derogation from articles 6, 7, 8 (paragraphs 1 and 2),
11, 15, 16 and 18 may be made under this provision.
3. Any State Party to the present Covenant availing itself
of the right of derogation shall inform immediately the other
States Parties to the present Covenant, through the intermediary
of the Secretary-General of the United Nations of the provisions
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.
1. Nothing in the present Covenant may be interpreted as implying
for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity
or perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights
and freedoms recognized herein or at their limitation to a greater
extent than is provided for in the present Covenant.
2. There shall be no restriction upon or derogation from any
of the fundamental human rights recognized or existing in any
State Party to the present Covenant pursuant to law, conventions,
regulations or custom on the pretext that the present Covenant
does not recognize such rights or that it recognizes them to a
1. 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.
2. In countries which have not abolished the death penalty,
sentence of death may be imposed only for the most serious crimes
in accordance with law in force at the time of the commission
of the crime and not contrary to the provisions of the present
Covenant and to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment
of the Crime of Genocide. This penalty can only be carried out
pursuant to a final judgment rendered by a competent court.
3. When deprivation of life constitutes the crime of genocide,
it is understood that nothing in this article shall authorize
any State Party to the present Covenant to derogate in any way
from any obligation assumed under the provisions of the Convention
on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
4. Anyone sentenced to death shall have the right to seek
pardon or commutation of the sentence. Amnesty, pardon or commutation
of the sentence of death may be granted in all cases.
5. Sentence of death shall not be imposed for crimes committed
by persons below eighteen years of age and shall not be carried
out on pregnant women.
6. Nothing in this article shall be invoked to delay or to
prevent the abolition of capital punishment by any State Party
to the present Covenant.
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
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
(b) The preceding subparagraph shall not be held to preclude
in countries where imprisonment with hard labor may be imposed
as a punishment for a crime, the performance of hard labor in
pursuance of a sentence to such punishment by a competent court;
(c) For the purpose of this paragraph the term "forced
or compulsory labor" shall not include:
i. Any work or service, not referred to in subparagraph (b),
normally required of a person who is under detention in consequence
of a lawful order of a court, or of a person during conditional
release from such detention;
ii. Any service of a military character and, in countries
where conscientious objection is recognized, any national service
required by law of conscientious objectors;
iii. Any service exacted in cases of emergency or calamity
threatening the life or well-being of the community;
iv. Any work or service which forms part of normal civil obligations.
1. 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 procedures as are established by law.
2. 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.
3. Anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall
be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized
by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial
within a reasonable time or to release. It shall not be the general
rule that persons awaiting trial shall be detained in custody,
but release may be subject to guarantees to appear for trial,
at any other stage of the judicial proceedings, and, should occasion
arise, for execution of the judgment.
4. Anyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention
shall be entitled to take proceedings before a court, in order
that such court may decide without delay on the lawfulness of
his detention and order his release if the detention is not lawful.
5. Anyone who has been the victim of unlawful arrest or detention
shall have an enforceable right to compensation.
1. All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated
with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the
2. (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
(b) Accused juvenile persons shall be separated from adults
and brought as speedily as possible for adjudication.
3. 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.
No one shall be imprisoned merely on the ground of inability
to fulfill a contractual obligation.
1. 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.
2. Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including
3. The above-mentioned rights shall not be subject to any
restrictions except those which are provided by law, are necessary
to protect national security, public order ("ordre public"),
public health or morals or the rights and freedoms of others,
and are consistent with the other rights recognized in the present
4. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter
his own country.
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.
1. 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. The Press and the public
may be excluded from all or part of a trial for reasons of morals,
public order ("ordre public") or national security in
a democratic society, or when the interest of the private lives
of the parties so requires, or to the extent strictly necessary
in the opinion of the court in special circumstances where publicity
would prejudice the interests 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 juveniles otherwise requires or the proceedings
concern matrimonial disputes or the guardianship of children.
2. Everyone charged with a criminal offense shall have the
right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to
3. In the determination o 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 to defend himself in person
or through legal assistance of his own choosing; to be informed,
if he does not have legal assistance, of this right; and to have
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 means 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 court;
g. Not to be compelled to testify against himself, or to confess
4. In the case of juveniles, the procedure shall be such as
will take account of their age and the desirability of promoting
5. Everyone convicted of a crime shall have the right to his
conviction and sentence being reviewed by a higher tribunal according
6. When a person has by a final decision been convicted of
a criminal offense and when subsequently his conviction has been
reversed or he has been pardoned on the ground that a new or newly
discovered fact shows conclusively that there has 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 nondisclosure of the unknown fact in time
is wholly or partly attributable to him.
7. No one shall be liable to be tried or punished again for
an offense for which he has already been finally convicted or
acquitted in accordance with the law and penal procedure of each
1. 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 a heavier penalty be imposed than
the one that was applicable at the time when the criminal offense
was committed. If, subsequently to the commission of the offense,
provision is made by law for the imposition of a lighter penalty,
the offender shall benefit thereby.
2. Nothing in this article shall prejudice the trial and punishment
of any person for any act or omission which, at the time when
it was committed, was criminal according to the general principles
of law recognized by the community of nations.
Everyone shall have the right to recognition everywhere as
a person before the law.
1. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference
with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful
attacks on his honor and reputation.
2. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against
such interference or attacks.
1. 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
2. No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair
his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.
3. 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.
4. 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.
1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without
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.
3. The exercise of the rights provided for in the foregoing
paragraph carries with it special duties and responsibilities.
It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these
shall be such only as are provided by law and are necessary, (1)
for respect of the rights or reputations of others, (2) for the
protection of national security or of public order ("ordre
public"), or of public health or morals.
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.
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
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.
2. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right
other than those 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.
3. Nothing in this article shall authorize States Parties
to the International Labor Convention of 1948 on 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 the Convention.
1. The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of
society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
2. The right of men and women of marriageable age to marry
and to found a family shall be recognized.
3. No marriage shall be entered into without the free and
full consent of the intending spouses.
4. 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 a dissolution, provision shall be made for the necessary
protection of any children.
1. Every child shall have, without any discrimination as to
race, color, sex, language, religion, national or social origin,
property or birth, the right to such measures of protection as
required by his status as a minor, on the part of his family,
the society and the State.
2. Every child shall be registered immediately after birth
and shall have a name.
3. Every child has the right to acquire a nationality.
Every citizen shall have the right and the opportunity, without
any of the distinctions mentioned in article 2 and without unreasonable
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
which 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.
All persons are equal before the law and are entitled without
any discrimination to 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, color, sex, language, religion, political
or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or
In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities
exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied
the right, m 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.