The Prohibition of Propaganda for War in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

Michael Kearney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The prohibition of propaganda for war as set forth in Article 20(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights represents a key provision of international law, albeit one which has been grossly neglected, both by States parties and legal commentators, since its adoption by the General Assembly in 1966. The object of this article is to direct attention towards a provision which has the potential to play a major role in the prevention of war. Drawing on the travaux préparatoires of both Articles 19 and 20 of the Covenant, the reservations and declarations entered with regard to Article 20(1), the pertinent General Comments of the Human Rights Committee and the periodic reports submitted by States parties to the Committee, the article seeks to clarify the meaning of the provision and to dispel assumptions that either it is an unwarranted restriction on the right to freedom of expression or both legally and politically untenable.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)551-570
Number of pages20
JournalNetherlands Quarterly of Human Rights
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes


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