Individual Complaints to the Human Rights Committee

The Committee may consider individuals complaints, called “communications”, against States parties to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Optional Protocol (No 1).

Individual complaints are examined in closed session. In its decision, the Committee considers the information provided by the complainant as well as additional comments by the concerned state party. (Schematic representation: How the individual complaint procedure works)

The communication must be submitted by the alleged victim or by someone assigned by the victim to act on his/her behalf. The Committee is prohibited from considering a case which is already examined under another procedure of international investigation. Also, the following conditions have to be met:

  • the communication must not be anonymous;
  • it must not constitute an “abuse of the right”, which means that there must a reasonable use of the right to submit a communication;
  • the communication must be compatible with the provisions of the Covenant and
  • the author must have tried to exhaust all available domestic remedies in his/her country.

A model form for submitting an individual communication is available under:

The communications submitted to the Human Rights Committee must be sent to the following address:

Petitions Team
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Office at Geneva
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Fax:+ 41 22 917 9022 (particularly for urgent matters)
E-mail: tb-petitions(at)

African State Parties to the Optional Protocol

Individual communications can only be addressed against States which have ratified the Optional protocol of the Covenant. As of February 2012, the following African States have ratified the Protocol:

Last change: 21.02.12 - 15:35