New York, US (PANA) - Some 40 UN member states signed 87 international treaties and other conventions during the high-level session of the UN General Assembly in New York, the UN said.
In a statement signed by Ms. Patricia O’Brien, UN Under Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and UN Legal Counsel, the UN said by this action, member states have again manifested their firm belief in the importance of international treaty law.
She said the bulk of the 87 treaty actions, which can consist of signing or becoming party to one of the 550 multilateral treaties deposited with the UN Secretary-General, were ratification (30), accessions (24), acceptances (4), and consents to be bound (2), all of which represent the step of becoming party to a treaty.
''The high number of states becoming parties to various treaties makes this one of the most important Treaty Events in recent years,'' she said, adding: ''it really supports and strengthens the rule of law.''
O'Brien said it is only by ratifying, accepting, acceding to, or expressing consent to be bound that a state is actually bound by an international agreement.
''These legally binding international norms and standards then become an important part of the rule of law regulating the conduct of nations,'' O'Brien noted.
PANA learnt that participants in this year’s Treaty Event, which took place 24-26 September and 1-2 October, included four Heads of State (the Presidents of Madagascar, Nauru, Nigeria and Switzerland), one Head of Government (the Prime Minister of Samoa), 30 Ministers, and four
Permanent Representative to the UN.
One treaty joined by two new states Parties, Indonesia and Swaziland, is the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.
The statement also quoted Marta Santos Pais, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Violence against Children, as saying ''this is a strong expression of commitment to protect children from violence and prevent the risk of their exploitation as victims of sale, prostitution or pornography''.
Another Optional Protocol that strengthens the Convention on the Rights of the Child – the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, was joined by three new States Parties: Indonesia, Nigeria and Swaziland.
The Protocol serves to ensure that children will not be forced to fight in war or be pressed into military service.
Another important treaty action was Samoa's ratification of the amendments to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court on the Crime of Aggression, making Samoa the second State Party to the Rome Statute to ratify the amendments which define the crime of aggression.
PANA reports that the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the first international agreement requiring governments around the world to uphold the rights of children and adults with disabilities, adopted in 2006 was ratified by Dominica, Israel, Poland, Russia and Swaziland.
Honduras and Portugal joined the Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, a 1954 agreement that requires stateless persons – people who are not considered as nationals by any State, but who are not covered by refugee laws either to be given the same rights as citizens with respect to freedom of religion and education of their children, for instance.
Also, Malta, Nigeria and Turkey ratified the 2005 Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism designed to criminalise acts of nuclear terrorism and to promote police and judicial cooperation to prevent, investigate and punish those acts.
The International Cocoa Agreement, adopted in 2010 to strengthen the cooperation between exporting and importing countries, entered into force provisionally during the Treaty Event, on 1 October 2012, as foreseen in the treaty.
In September 2000, the UN invited world leaders attending the landmark Millennium Summit at UN headquarters to sign a wide range of major international treaties.
That year, the Treaty Event entitled: ''An Invitation to Universal Participation”, offered a platform for governments to showcase their commitment to strengthening the rule of law at home and in the global arena.
Since then, the Treaty Event has been held annually, usually coinciding with the General Debate of the UN General Assembly in September.
Since 2000, the Treaty Events have resulted in 1,763 treaty-related actions, including signatures, ratification and accession.
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