Procedure for the Adoption of the General Comment

General Comment No. 36 - Article 6: Right to life

General Discussion on the preparation for a General Comment on Article 6 (Right to Life)  of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Palais des Nations, Room XIX – 14 July 2015

On the occasion of its 114th session, to be held in Geneva from 29 June to 24 July 2015, the Human Rights Committee will hold a half day of general discussion in preparation for a General Comment on Article 6 (Right to Life) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights:

Article 6

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 the 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 judgement 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.

Object and purpose of the half day of general discussion

The purpose of the general discussion is to commence the Committee’s process of developing a General Comment on article 6, expanding upon its earlier general comments No. 6 and 14 (from 1982 and 1984), in light of later experience obtained in the review of State reports and communications and in the adoption of General Comments on related issues.  The purpose of the general comment is to provide appropriate and authoritative guidance to States Parties and other actors on the measures to be adopted to ensure full compliance with the rights protected under this provision.


A note has been adopted by the Committee (CCPR/C/GC/R.36) on the half-day of general discussion which identifies the issues the Rapporteurs on the General Comment, Mr. Yuval Shany and Sir Nigel Rodley, contemplate may be addressed in the General Comment. In this note, the issues are organized for convenience first by subparagraph of Article 9, and then followed by cross-cutting issues.

Date and venue

The half day discussion will take place in a plenary meeting at the Palais des Nations. Room XIX – 14 July 2015, 8-14, avenue de la Paix, 1211 Geneva, from 10 to 13 hrs.


The Human Rights Committee invites interested members of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), civil society, and academia to participate and to provide written information on the subject Interpretation will be provided in the following languages: Arabic, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

Written Contributions

Organizations wishing to submit written contributions are welcome to do so.

Submissions should be sent electronically in Word format to the Secretariat ( and indicating "Half Day of General Discussion on Article 6” in the subject by 12 June 2015.

Documents may be submitted in English, French or Spanish. Please note that written contributions will not be translated by OHCHR. As most Committee members use English as their working language, documents submitted in French and Spanish should, to the extent possible, be translated into English.

Written contributions will not be reproduced by OHCHR, thus 22 hard copies should be provided by the deadline i.e. 12 June 2015.

Written contributions, assuming they arrive in the Secretariat by the deadline provided will be posted on the website for the half-day of general discussion.


Those wishing to participate orally should also inform the Secretariat ( and by 12 June 2015, after which time for presentations will be allocated. Those having provided written contributions in advance will be allocated more time for oral presentations.

Following the presentations, Committee members will have an opportunity to ask questions of and receive responses from the presenters. If time remains there will be a further opportunity for comments by participants.


Following the discussion, the Rapporteurs produced a draft of the general comment which will be presented to the Committee for a first reading in public session during the 115th session in October 2015. This draft is posted here for information only.

The text resulting from the first reading will be made public, on this page for comments by all interested parties, once the first reading is completed.


Representatives of non-governmental organizations wishing to attend the session should register online at CSO-Netby 19 June 2015.

All others should fill out a conference registration form and send it to the Secretariat by email ( and by 19 June 2015.


Country-specific information