The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and United Kingdom Law

By David Harris; Sarah Joseph | Go to book overview
Save to active project



It is traditional that, when one's own country comes before the Committee for examination, the national member remains silent. Therefore, when I was asked by David Harris if I would like to make some comments this morning, I briefly thought my moment had come. But I will not in fact offer any views on the substance of United Kingdom compliance with the Covenant. Rather I will try to set the scene and say something about the whole relationship, in broad terms, of the United Kingdom to the Covenant system.

Before I do that I do want to say that I feel very privileged to work on the Human Rights Committee with the very genuine and full support of the government. Colleagues on the Committee, and especially those who have not come from the democracies, have through the years had a chequered relationship with their governments. We who come from the democracies really appreciate the way in which our governments encourage us to take on these things, provide some administrative back-up when requested (for example, in passing fax messages), and then stand well back and let us do what we have to do. Those who attend the Committee sessions know that from time to time representatives from the United Kingdom mission will come to meetings simply because of the interest in what is going on. An appropriate relationship has always been kept and I do want to express publicly my appreciation for that.

Now I turn to look at the whole relationship of the United Kingdom to the Covenant system. My view is that this relationship is not perhaps firing on all cylinders, and I think the reason can be laid at various doors--in part government, in part the Committee, and in part the human rights world, including the NGOs. I will be making some forthright remarks about these things in the hope of provoking discussion.

I begin with what we can conveniently term the 'formalities', because, of course, it is the first obligation of any state party under the Covenant to put in its initial report a year after acceptance of the Covenant, and then in the periodicity cycle of five years and whenever otherwise required. So it is

This speech was delivered by Professor Rosalyn Higgins, QC, Professor of International Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and UK member of the Human Rights Committee since 1984, at a conference held on 29 September 1993 at the Parliament Chamber, Inner Temple, London, on 'The ICCPR and United Kingdom Law'.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and United Kingdom Law
Table of contents

Table of contents



Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 704

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?