World leaders and government ministers are signing or undertaking legally binding treaty actions this week on agreements dealing with transnational organized crime, terrorism, the safety of United Nations personnel, tobacco control and torture as part of an event held on the fringes of the high-level debate in the United Nations General Assembly.
While action can be taken on any of the 500 treaties deposited with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, focus will be on such agreements as the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, which requires countries to cooperate with one another for the apprehension and conviction of criminals engaged in cross-border illicit activities.
Under the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, countries agreed to criminalize the act of providing or collecting funds with the intention or knowledge that those funds would be used to carry out a terrorist attack as defined by the treaty.
This year, following the bombing of UN headquarters in Baghdad, special emphasis is also being placed on the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel.
Other treaties include the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the first global agreement negotiated under the auspices of the UN World Health Organization (WHO), and the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture.
In a letter of invitation sent in April to Heads of State or Government asking their participation, the Secretary-General reminded them of the “adequate measures” they might need to take to bring their domestic legislation into line with the treaty obligations, and that, should they need it, assistance is available.