General Comment

COPCAT Shorts: The Right to Life in Detention

States parties also have a heightened duty of care to take any necessary measures to protect the lives of individuals deprived of their liberty by the State, since by arresting, detaining, imprisoning or otherwise depriving individuals of their liberty, States parties assume the responsibility to care for their life and bodily integrity, and they may not rely on lack of financial resources or other logistical problems to reduce this responsibility. The same heightened duty of care attaches to individuals held in private incarceration facilities operating pursuant to an authorization by the State. The duty to protect the life of all detained individuals includes providing them with the necessary medical care and appropriately regular monitoring of their health, shielding them from inter-prisoner violence, preventing suicides and providing reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities. A heightened duty to protect the right to life also applies to individuals quartered in liberty-restricting State-run facilities, such as mental health facilities, military camps, refugee camps and camps for internally displaced persons, juvenile institutions and orphanages.

Excerpt from the UN Human Rights Committee’s General Comment No. 36 (2018) on ICCPR Article 6 on the right to life, published 1 November 2018 (paragraph 25).

UN Geneva

UN Geneva by Jean-Marc Ferré.

Read OHCHR’s press release on the publication of General Comment No. 36 in English.

Download General Comment no. 36 in English.

Read the outcome of Canada’s examination by the Human Rights Committee in 2015 in English and French.

Posted by mp in Places of detention, UN Human Rights Committee