A group of school children march peacefully, holding images of Martin Luther King Jr.

Claim Your Rights!

Have you had your human rights violated, or has someone you know? Anyone may bring a human rights problem to the attention of the United Nations and thousands of people around the world do so every year. Here’s how:

1. Check whether your country has agreed to be bound by the Covenants or another relevant human rights treaty.

2. Be sure to use your national court system first.

    Before filing a complaint with the United Nations, you must take your claim to your national court system, up to the highest court (for example the Supreme Court), and receive a final decision. This is called “exhaustion of domestic remedies.” It may be waived if you can demonstrate that local remedies are not effective, not available, or unduly prolonged.

3. File your complaint.

    Committees, also known as Treaty Bodies, consider complaints from individuals or groups of individuals who believe that their country has violated their rights as protected under international human rights treaties. The Committees are made up of human rights experts who monitor how countries are implementing the treaties in practice. A separate committee monitors each treaty and their procedures for submitting complaints vary. Find out where to file your complaint and what information is required.

What compensation or remedy can I get if a decision is taken in my favour?

The Committees recommend various types of remedies to redress human rights violations. The most common is compensation for losses. The Committees may also recommend reparations to address the source of the violations, such as repealing discriminatory laws, or laws or practices which otherwise are contrary to the human rights enshrined in the ICCPR and ICESCR. The States parties have a moral obligation to implement the decisions.