A Conscientious Objector's Guide to the International Human Rights System

Other Treaty Bodies

Apart from the Human Rights Committee, the other treaty bodies, which include the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination (CERD) and the Committee Against Torture (CAT) are not likely to be the first port of call for a conscientious objector. The more obvious mechanisms for conscientious objectors to military service are the Human Rights Committee and the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council, such as thematic and country-specific rapporteurs.

Like the Human Rights Committee, each treaty body oversees the implementation of a convention. The outcomes from these treaty bodies are similar to those of the Human Rights Committee. Both CERD and CAT have an optional individual communications procedure, enabling the committees to consider individual cases as well as State practice and legislation. However, these procedures are very underused.

When you might use other treaty bodies

If you find that the State who is failing to recognise rights associated with conscientious objection is not a party to the ICCPR but is a party to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) or the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), you may wish to pursue your case or country situation under these conventions. All treaty bodies receive periodic reports from states party to the treaty. Rules of procedure are similar to those for the Human Rights Committee. You should read the relevant conventions in full to see if the State Party is failing to respect these rights. These are available on the web at http://www.ohchr.org.