Reporting Mechanism - Human Rights Committee
last updated 12 June 2013 – Information is subject to change. Please check the Committee’s website for updates.
Type of Mechanism
Reporting and Monitoring
Scope of the Procedure
How the Reporting Procedure Works
After ratifying the Covenant, State parties are required to submit an initial report on compliance within a year of the Covenant’s entry into force in that State and, thereafter, periodic reports at the Committee’s request. The Committee states in its concluding observations the date by which the subsequent periodic report should be submitted for consideration. In 2009, an optional reporting procedure was adopted which will allow State parties to focus reports on replies to lists of issues prior to reporting (LOIPR) in lieu of full reports.[1] A five-year pilot study was initiated in 2010.   
The Committee currently meets three times a year to consider State reports (March, July, and October). A Country Report Task Force is established for each reporting state, which generally convenes two sessions prior to the country examination session. Each Task Force has a designated country rapporteur who is responsible for the initial draft of the list of issues and presentation to the Task Force. Once adopted, the list of issues is transmitted to the State party for written response.
At the session, the State party has the opportunity to present its report and responses to the list of issues to the Committee and address questions posed by Committee members. In general, the Committee devotes two meetings (three hours in duration) for the examination of periodic reports and three meetings for examination of initial reports. Toward the end of the session, the Committee holds closed meetings to discuss and adopt concluding observations and recommendations.
Role of Advocates[2]
Provide country-specific information to the Committee and working group which draws their attention to issues of concern, advocate for concluding observations and recommendations that address those issues, place pressure on State parties to take action consistent with the Committee’s recommendations, and inform the Committee where a State party has failed to take action. There are many opportunities for advocates to participate in the reporting and monitoring process. NGOs are encouraged to submit "shadow" or alternative reports to the Committee as a whole or to members of the Country Report Task Forces (formerly pre-session working group) to provide an alternate view of the state’s fulfillment of its obligations under the Covenant or to bring attention to human rights violations not reflected in the state’s report. NGOs are encouraged to submit information in advance of Task Force meeting to inform the development of the list of issues and questions, which states are asked to respond to in advance of the session. Such issues tend to be the focus of constructive dialogue in the session, thus it is advantageous to provide information early in the proceedings.
Advocates also have an opportunity to participate in the sessions and to lobby Committee members outside of session proceedings. NGOs are invited to give oral presentations to Committee during the NGO hearings which take place at the start of the reporting session. NGOs may also organize informal lunch-time briefings with interested Committee members. Such meetings offer a unique opportunity for NGOs to provide a more detailed analysis of the issues of concern and give Committee members an opportunity to ask questions that have not been addressed. There are no formal opportunities provided for NGOs to brief members of the Task Force, however, NGOs are encouraged to organize briefing sessions for interested Committee members prior to the adoption of the list of issues. Although NGOs cannot intervene during the reporting/examination session, they may participate as observers. Attendance at the sessions is not limited to NGOs with ECOSOC accreditation, but those wishing to attend must contact the Committee secretariat in advance to attain the appropriate credentials.
After the Committee has adopted its concluding observations, NGOs are encouraged to monitor and provide reports on any steps taken or not taken by the Government in response to the Committee’s recommendations. The Committee also encourages NGOs to raise awareness—locally and nationally—of the Committee’s concluding observations.
Articles Concerning Violence Against Women[3]
Article 3 ensures the equal right of men and women to enjoy all rights of the Covenant.
Article 6 requires that States protect the inherent right to life. This is a non-derogable right, under which NGOs may call attention to State laws and policies that fail to protect the lives of women in cases of domestic or other forms of violence, including, but not limited to, the burning of widows, and dowry killings (General Comment 28).
Article 7 prohibits torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The Committee has recognized article 7 to include domestic and other types of violence against women, including rape, forced sterilization, and female genital mutilation (General Comment 28).[4] This is also a non-derogable right, which cannot be suspended in a state of emergency.
Article 8 prohibits slavery, servitude, and forced compulsory labor. In General Comment 28, the Committee compels State parties to report on measures taken to eliminate trafficking of women and children and forced prostitution.
Article 24 assures rights to children. Although the rights are not enumerated in the Covenant, the Committee stated in General Comment 17 that State parties should take every possible measure to prevent children from being subjected to acts of violence, trafficking, and forced prostitution.[5]  
The Committee requests that all State parties, when reporting under each Covenant right, provide information regarding specific protections for women, including issues of domestic violence, rights in marriage, rape, in accordance with Article 3 of the Covenant; and legal and other measures taken to prevent and combat all forms of human trafficking, in accordance with Article 8.[6]    
Submitting a Report
There is no single format for shadow reports. They may be comprehensive, covering each article in the Covenant, or thematic, addressing only a particular issue of concern, but should analyze particular problems rather than merely describe them. The CCPR guidelines for NGOs provide further recommendations for effective reporting. Additional information on writing and using shadow reports strategically as well as a sample of NGO reports can be found in the Human Rights Investigation and Documentation section of this website.
NGOs are encouraged to collaborate with other NGOs and consolidate reports whenever possible to show broad consensus amongst numerous groups. Reports may be submitted to the Country Report Task Force for consideration in development of the list of issues or to all Committee members in advance of the session. Reports to the working group must be sent at least two months in advance of their meetings. Reports submitted after the list of issues has been adopted should generally focus on the State’s replies to the list of the issues. These reports should be submitted no later than two weeks before the start of the session.
Where to Send Communications
Human Rights Committee
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Tel: + 41 22 917 92 61
Fax: +41 22 917 90 08
NGOs have used shadow reports effectively to advocate for change.  Periodic State reporting has put pressure on national governments to amend legislation and bring policies into compliance with the Covenant. The makeup of the Country Report Task Force is not made publically available, which limits advocates’ ability to lobby members. Although NGOs are encouraged to brief the Task Force in advance of its adoption of the list of issues, there is no formal opportunity to do so. NGOs are responsible for organizing informal briefing sessions, which Task Force members may or may not attend.

[1] Human Rights Committee, Focused reports based on replies to lists of issues prior to reporting (LOIPR): Implementation of the new optional reporting procedure (LOIPR procedure), UN Doc. CCPR/C/99/4 (Sept. 29, 2010).
[2] Human Rights Committee, The relationship of the Human Rights Committee with non-governmental organizations, UN Doc. CCPR/C/104/3 (June 1, 2012).
[3] International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI) of 16 Dec. 1966, entry into force 23 Mar. 1976.
[4] ICCPR General Comment 28: Equality of rights between men and women (art. 3), UN Doc. CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.10, March 29, 2000.
[5] ICCPR General Comment No. 17: Rights of the child (art. 24), Apr. 7, 1989.
[6] Human Rights Committee, Guidelines for the treaty-specific document to be submitted by States parties under article 40 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, UN Doc. CCPR/C/2009/1, 22 Nov. 2010, accessed at