The individual complaint to the HRC:
- may be brought by any individual who claims that his/ her rights under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights have been violated (e.g. by an administrative decision or the court judgement).
- must be brought in person or by a plenipotentiary acting on behalf of the complainant (if it is impossible because the person stays currently in detention, the complaint may be brought by her family on behalf of the complainant).
- may be lodged after all domestic remedies have been exhausted, unless it appears that such remedies would be ineffective or unreasonably prolonged.
The complaint must be related to the infringement on the rights that has taken place after 7th February, 1992, i.e. the date of the ratification of the Protocol by Poland (unless the infringement was initiated by other events before this date, or the consequences of these events constitute the infringement).
Moreover, the complaint cannot be anonymous (although the data may be disclosed on request). It will not be considered admissible if the same matter is pending before or has been the subject of a decision by another international procedure, for example at the European Tribunal on Human Rights in Strasbourg.
The complaint should be sent by post to the following address. It need not take any particular form, yet it is recommended to use the model complaint form (to be found below). It is also recommended to ask a lawyer for assistance or address one of the NGOs providing legal aid.
Unlike the complaints procedure in Strasbourg, complaints to this Committee do not have to be submitted within six months of the final decision by a national authority in your case. You may lodge it any time, after all domestic remedies had been exhausted.
R., a Polish Roma, was just leaving the store when a young man hiding something under his jacket ran out of the store before him. A policeman passing by, having heard the shop-assistant’s cry ‘Thief!’ immediately reacted and brutally stopped the Roma in front of the store. Then, without giving him any reason,s he arrested, handcuffed and took R. to the police station.
If the above conditions are met, R. may lodge a complaint in the CCPR against the infringement on the article 2 and 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, i.e. prohibition of discrimination related to the right to be informed of the reasons for arrest (or the prohibition of illegal or arbitrary detention).
Article 2 of the Covenant states:”1. Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the present Covenant, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”
Article 9 of the Covenant states: ”1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law.
Anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his arrest and shall be promptly informed of any charges against him.”
The address of the Committee:
Human Rights Committee
c/o Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
52 Rue des Pacquis
1211 Geneva, Switzerland
The application form can be found here.