(Unofficial summary)

This Covenant was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 16 December 1966 and entered into force on 23 March 1976. By May of 2012, the Covenant had been ratified by 167 states.

The Covenant elaborates further the civil and political rights and freedoms listed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Under Article 1 of the Covenant, the states commit themselves to promote the right to self-determination and to respect that right. It also recognises the rights of peoples to freely own, trade and dispose of their natural wealth and resources.

Among the rights of individuals guaranteed by the Covenant are:

Article 2

The right to legal recourse when their rights have been violated, even if the violator was acting in an official capacity.

Article 3

The right to equality between men and women in the enjoyment of their civil and political rights.

Article 6

The right to life and survival.

Article 7

The freedom from inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 8

The freedom from slavery and servitude.

Article 9

The right to liberty and security of the person and freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention.

Article 11

The freedom from prison due to debt.

Article 12

The right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose residence

Article 14

The right to equality before the law; the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty and to have a fair and public hearing by an impartial tribunal.

Article 16

The right to be recognised as a person before the law.

Article 17

The right to privacy and its protection by the law.

Article 18

The freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

Article 19

The freedom of opinion and expression.

Article 20

Prohibition of propaganda advocating war or national, racial or religious hatred.

Article 21

The right to peaceful assembly.

Article 22

The right to freedom of association.

Article 23

The right to marry and found a family

Article 24

The rights for children (status as minors, nationality, registration and name).

Article 25

The right to participate in the conduct of public affairs, to vote and to be elected and access to public service.

Article 26

The right to equality before the law and equal protection

Article 27

The right, for members of religious, ethnic or linguistic minorities, to enjoy their culture, practice their religion and use their language.

The Covenant is legally binding; the Human Rights Committee, established under Article 28, monitors its implementation. The First Optional Protocol establishes an individual complaint mechanisms for the ICCP. By May 2012, the protocol had been ratified by 114 states. The Second Optional Protocol entered into force in 1991 and aims at the abolition of the death penalty. By May 2012 it had been ratified by 74 states.