Context:- Nathasha Edirisooriya, a Sri Lankan standup comic, was arrested under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Act.
- The ICCPR is a multilateral treaty that deals with human rights.
- Adoption – The Act was adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on 1966 and came into force in 1976.
- The Covenant respects civil and political rights of individuals, including right to life, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, electoral rights, and rights to due process and a fair trial.
- The ICCPR is part of the International Bill of Human Rights, along with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
- Monitoring Authority – The UN Human Rights Committee reviews regular reports by state parties on how human rights are being implemented.
- Today, the covenant has 173 parties and 6 more signatories without ratification.
- India ratified this treaty in 1979.
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Section 3 of the ICCPR Act
- A section that has been used time and time again to restrict freedom of expression.
- The section prohibits the propagation of war or advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.
- Offences under this section are cognizable as well as non-bailable.
- The section is based on Article 20 of the ICCPR.
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International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Act