ADOPTION OF GENERAL COMMENT NO.36

ADOPTION OF GENERAL COMMENT NO.36

The Human Rights Committee adopted its General Comment no. 36 on Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights on the right to life. The drafting of General Comment no. 36 began on 14 July 2015 and has been a long one. Some of the highlights of the General Comment include:

 

  1. Right to a Dignified Life: The right to life is not to be interpreted narrowly and includes the right to a dignified life.
  2. Right to Abortion: States parties must provide safe, legal and  effective access to abortion where the life and health of the pregnant woman or  girl is at  risk, and where carrying a pregnancy to term would  cause the pregnant woman or girl  substantial pain or suffering, most notably where the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest or is not viable. In addition, States parties may not regulate pregnancy or abortion in all other cases in a manner that runs contrary to their duty to ensure that women and girls do not have to undertake unsafe abortions, and they should revise their abortion laws accordingly.
  3. Obligation to Address Systemic Violations: States must address the general conditions in society that prevent individuals from enjoying their right to life with dignity, including homelessness, extreme poverty, malnutrition, hunger.
  4. Obligation to provide housing, health-care, services: States must provide essential goods and services, including food, water, shelter, health-care, electricity and sanitation, and must adopt positive measures such as social housing programs.
  5. Equal Enjoyment without Discrimination because of Socio-Economic Status: The right to life must be enoyed without discrimination on a range of grounds, including, notably, socio-economic status” (eg. poverty and homelessness)
  6. Environmental Rights: States must adopt measures to preserve the environment and protect it against harm, pollution and climate change caused by public and private actors
  7. Extra-territorial Obligations: States must address actions of corporate entities subject to their jurisdiction which impact on the right to life of individuals outside their territory