2 October 2013
Press Release
L/T/4431

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Treaty Event Advances Children’s, Disability Rights,

 

Global Regulation of Arms Trade

 


During the course of the general debate at United Nations Headquarters over the past week, 59 Member States took 113 treaty actions at the annual Treaty Event.


The 2013 event, which took place from 24 to 26 September and from 30 September to 1 October, featured nine Heads of State, seven Heads of Government, 36 Ministers, and seven Permanent Representatives to the United Nations.


The event is an opportunity for Member States to sign or become party to one or several of the more than 550 multilateral treaties deposited with the United Nations Secretary-General, on critical issues ranging from human rights to disarmament, international crime, the environment, communications and world trade.


“We are very pleased with the treaty actions taken over the five days,” said Miguel Serpa Soares, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel.  “The actions reflect a clear commitment on behalf of States to advancing the universal application of internationally agreed upon norms and standards.”


Much of the attention was focused on the Arms Trade Treaty, which was signed by 27 countries — including the United States, represented by Secretary of State John Kerry — and ratified by three during the event, pushing the total number of signatures to 113 and the total number of parties to seven.  “It is of particular significance that the largest arms-exporting country in the world, the United States, is now also among those countries who have committed themselves to a global regulation of the arms trade,” the Secretary-General’s Spokesperson said in response to Secretary Kerry signing the Treaty.


Adopted in April 2013, the Arms Trade Treaty will enter into force once it receives 50 ratifications.  It includes a prohibition on the transfer of arms that would be used in the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity and certain war crimes.


Another focus was on the rights of the child, with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov depositing the Russian Federation’s ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography on the first day of the Treaty Event.  “The Government of the Russian Federation is to be congratulated for the expression of its commitment to protect children from violence and prevent their exploitation as victims of sale, prostitution or pornography,” said Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children.


The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure, which gives children the right to submit a complaint to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, was signed by Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau and Seychelles, and ratified by Montenegro and Portugal.  Since its adoption in December 2011, it has gathered significant momentum, with eight States parties and 43 signatory States, and wide public support expressed by international and regional organizations, as well as civil society.


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 Papua New Guinea and Venezuela, and signed by Bahamas and Guinea-Bissau.


The Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products gathered 11 signatures during the Treaty Event, pushing to 34 the number of signatories since its adoption in Seoul in November 2012.


The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1996 also collected two ratifications during the Treaty Event, by Iraq and Guinea-Bissau, bringing the total number of parties to 161.


For more information, please visit http://treaties.un.org.


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For information media • not an official record