Compliance Monitoring under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

29 Pages Posted: 8 May 2019

Date Written: February 19, 2019


Despite their unequivocal international commitments, many States continue to neglect their human rights obligations domestically and do not give effect to human rights at the local level. The international community, once primarily concerned with the codification of human rights standards, has therefore accelerated its efforts to monitor and induce compliance over the past decades. The Human Rights Committee as a fundamental pillar of the UN Human Rights System has become a pioneer in this respect. As the main treaty body charged with monitoring the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights it was the first institution to introduce a follow-up procedure to its individual complaint mechanism. It subsequently extended this mechanism to the state reporting procedure and developed a grading scheme to assess the national measures taken in response to its recommendations. This article locates the follow-up procedures within the UN system, identifies the relevant stakeholders and explains the strategies to overcome resistance. In view of the Committee’s almost three decades long follow-up experience it is time now to take stock and evaluate this procedure in order to determine whether it has contributed to the compliance by States with their international human rights commitments. Based on the experience gained in the course of the follow-up proceedings and with compliance, more generally, we offer a critical evaluation of compliance monitoring and a perspective for future developments.

Keywords: compliance, human rights, Human Rights Committee, follow-up procedures

Suggested Citation

Seibert-Fohr, Anja and Weniger, Christine, Compliance Monitoring under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (February 19, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

Anja Seibert-Fohr (Contact Author)

University of Heidelberg ( email )

Friedrich-Ebert-Anlage 6-10
Heidelberg, 69117

Christine Weniger

Heidelberg University ( email )


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