Individual Communications

Five of the human rights treaty bodies (CCPR, CERD, CAT, CEDAW and CRPD) may, under particular circumstances, consider individual complaints or communications from individuals:

The Human Rights Committee may consider individual communications relating to States parties to the First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

The CEDAW may consider individual communications relating to States parties to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women;

The CAT may consider individual communications relating to States parties who have made the necessary declaration under article 22 of the Convention Against Torture;

The CERD may consider individual communications relating to States parties who have made the necessary declaration under article 14 of the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination; and

The CRPD may consider individual communications relating to States parties to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The Convention on Migrant Workers also contains provision for allowing individual communications to be considered by the CMW; these provisions will become operative when 10 states parties have made the necessary declaration under article 77.

A guide to using the Optional Protocol to CEDAW and other international complaint mechanisms", Australian Human Rights Commission

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Who can complain?

Any individual who claims that her or his rights have under the covenant or convention have been violated by a State party to that treaty may bring a communication before the relevant committee, provided that the State has recognized the competence of the committee to receive such complaints. Complaints may also be brought by third parties on behalf of individuals provided they have given their written consent or where they are incapable of giving such consent.

For more information on how to complain under the treaty bodies' comunications procedures, click here.