Half day discussion on the draft of the General Comment on the right to life
On the 14th of July 2015, the Human Rights Committee held a half day of general discussion in preparation for a General Comment on article 6 (Right to life) of the ICCPR.
The purpose of the Committee’s general comments 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 the Covenant. Concerning the right to life under article 6, the Committee has developed two general comments (No. 6 and 14) in 1982 and 1984.
The aim of the half day discussion was to commence the drafting of a new General Comment on article 6, revisiting and expanding upon the Committee’s earlier general comments in the light of experience obtained in the review of State reports and communications and in the adoption of general comments on related issues.
To participate in the discussion, the Committee invited interested members of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), civil society and academia to make written submissions and oral presentations on issues arising under article 6. Topics discussed included the death penalty, abortion, the interplay between the right to life and international humanitarian law and economic, social and cultural rights. During the discussion, 40 different entities made a statement and 115 submitted written documents available here, which demonstrates the importance of this theme to the global community,
Following the discussion, the Rapporteurs of the General Comment Yuval Shany and Nigel Rodley will produce a draft of the general comment which will be presented to the Committee for a first reading. The text resulting from the first reading will be made public on the Committee’s webpage, for comments by all interested parties, before the second reading. Oral and written contributions made by civil society from all over the world would certainly be taken into consideration by the Rapporteurs when drafting the General Comment.