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International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

A United Nations treaty based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Because the Universal Declaration of Human Rights contained both first generation[?] civil and political rights and second generation[?] economic, social, and cultural rights, it could not garner the international consensus necessary to become a binding treaty. Particularly, a divide developed between capitalist nations such as the USA, which favored civil and political rights, and communist nations which favored economic, social and cultural rights. To solve this problem, two binding Covenants were created instead of one: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights[?]. The former is monitored by the Human Rights Committee, a group of 18 experts who meet three times a year to consider periodic reports[?] submitted by member States on their compliance with the treaty. Members of the Human Rights Committee are elected by member states, but do not represent any State. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights contains two Optional Protocols[?]. The first optional protocol creates an individual complaints mechanism whereby individuals in member States can submit complaints, known as a communication, to be reviewed by the Human Rights Committee. Its rulings under the first optional protocol have created the most complex jurisprudence in the UN international human rights law system. The second optional protocol abolishes the death penalty. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights currently has 149 States Parties, the United States has ratified the Covenant but not the optional protocols as this would require the US to abolish the death penalty.

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