Countries can do more to implement international treaties, says UN official

20 September 2007

More than 40 countries have now indicated they plan to sign, ratify or accede to at least one international treaty over the next two weeks as part of the annual campaign to promote such conventions during the opening of the General Assembly session, a United Nations official said today.

Annebeth Rosenboom, Chief of the Treaty Section in the UN Office of Legal Affairs (OLA), told reporters that although those figures are impressive, countries should and can do more to ensure they are putting into place all the provisions of the treaties and pacts under which they are now bound.

“While significant achievements have been made in the development of the multilateral treaty framework, domestic implementation still needs to be improved,” she said, noting that this year’s theme stressed both participation and implementation.

This year’s treaty event, the ninth in the series, will be held on the sidelines of the General Assembly’s General Debate at UN Headquarters in New York on 25-27 September and 1-2 October. The focus will be on 43 treaties that deal with peace, development and human rights.

Ms. Rosenboom said “an impressive total of 1,278 treaty actions have been undertaken” during the annual event since it was initiated in 2000, but she added that none of the treaties being featured this year yet enjoyed the participation of all States.

One of the featured treaties is the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which is designed to protect the rights of the estimated 650 million people worldwide who have disabilities.

Although it has already garnered 102 signatories since March, the Convention will only take effect 30 days after the 20th country agrees to ratification. So far, five nations – Jamaica, Hungary, Croatia, Panama and Cuba – have ratified.

UN official Thomas Schindlmayr, from the Convention’s Secretariat, told reporters that he was confident that the next 15 ratifications would be obtained soon and the treaty will be able to enter into force.

He stressed the importance of the Convention given that people with disabilities are often among the most marginalized groups in the world.

Several featured treaties this year focus on the need for nations to act decisively to prevent and mitigate violence against women.

Christine Brautigam, Chief of the Women’s Rights Section of the Division for the Advancement of Women, warned that when States fail to hold the perpetrators of violence accountable, impunity persists and inequality and discrimination are reinforced.

She called for the universal ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women. Some 185 States are party to the Convention, but Iran, Nauru, Palau, Qatar, Tonga, Somalia, Sudan and the United States are not.

 

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