World Leaders Invited to Sign Key Treaties
at United Nations Millennium Summit
Heads of State or Government coming to the United Nations Millennium Summit on 6-8 September 2000 have been invited by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to take the opportunity to sign, ratify or accede to key treaties to which they are not already a party.
In a letter of 15 May 2000 sent to all heads of State or Government, the Secretary-General informed world leaders that he would provide special facilities to enable them to add their signatures to any of the more than 500 treaties deposited with him. He drew special attention to a core group of 25 multilateral treaties (listed below) that reflect the main policy goals of the United Nations. Among the core treaties are those dealing with landmines, the International Criminal Court, rights of women and children, and climate change.
"This is a major effort which is the fruit of the work of a task force set up in the [United Nations] Secretariat last year by the Deputy Secretary-General, Ms. Louise Fréchette", said Hans Corell, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel, at a recent press briefing. Some of the treaties have been open for signature for a number of years but have not attracted universal participation. The Secretary-General's appeal, entitled "Multilateral Treaty Framework: An Invitation to Universal Participation", includes the number of signatures and ratifications for each of the core treaties.
The Secretary-General encouraged the leaders to take the opportunity of the Summit to "re-dedicate themselves to the international legal framework". He also asked them to advise him on whatever technical obstacles stood in the way of their countries ratifying those core treaties, stating his intent to ask United Nations agencies and programmes to provide needed assistance.
"The expansion of the rule of law in international relations has been the foundation of much of the political, social and economic progress achieved in recent years," said the Secretary-General in his letter, echoing a statement in the Millennium Report he prepared for the Summit. "Undoubtedly, it will facilitate further progress in the new Millennium," he added.
Recent Treaty Developments
Among the treaties on which world leaders may take action are four that have recently been concluded:
An Optional Protocol has recently been added to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, by which a committee of independent experts would receive complaints of discrimination from individuals. Ten ratifications of the Protocol are needed for it to come into force. As of 28 July 2000, 5 States have ratified.
The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which was adopted in July 1998, received several ratifications during a June session of its preparatory committee. It now has 98 signatories and 14 ratifications as of 28 July 2000. It is still short of the 60 needed for entry into force.
Two Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child were opened for signature in June 2000. The first, concerning children in armed conflict, has 8 signatories and 1 ratification, and the second, covering the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, has 6 signatories, both as of 28 July 2000.
The Cartagena Protocol on biosafety was opened for signature on 15 May 2000 in Nairobi. It has received 69 signatures as of 28 July 2000.
Note to Journalists: The Secretary-General's appeal is also available at www.un.org/millennium/law.
For more information contact: Treaty Section/Office of Legal Affairs: tel. (212) 963-5047, 963-5479, 963-1373; or Department of Public Information, tel (212) 963-6870, 963-7704.
Core Group of Multilateral Treaties Deposited with the Secretary-General
Representative of the Organization's Key Objectives
1. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
2. International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrmination
3.International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
4. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
5. Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
6. Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty
7. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
8. Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
9. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
10. Convention on the Rights of the Child
11. Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict
12. Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
13. International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
Refugees and Stateless Persons
14. Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees
15. Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel
16. International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings
17. Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
18. Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects (and Protocols).
19. Protocol II on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby-Traps and Other Devices as amended on 3 May 1996
20. Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction
21. Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty
22. Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction
23. Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
24. Convention on Biological Diversity
25. United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa
Published by the United Nations Department of Public Information
DPI/2142 - August 2000