New Optional Protocol on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and “Rotterdam Rules” Signed by Nearly 50 States during 2009 Treaty Event

30 September 2009

New Optional Protocol on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and “Rotterdam Rules” Signed by Nearly 50 States during 2009 Treaty Event

30 September 2009
Press Release
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

New Optional Protocol on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and ‘Rotterdam Rules’

signed by nearly 50 States during 2009 Treaty Event

Sixty-Four Member States Took Treaty Actions in Areas

Of Human Rights, Transport, Environment, Terrorism and Disarmament

New York, 29 September (OLA)-- The five-day 2009 Treaty Event concluded today with 64 Member States having taken 103 treaty actions.  This was the highest participation rate in four years and represents an increase of 20 States compared to last year’s event.  Four States participated at the level of Head of State or Government and 32 at the level of Minister for Foreign Affairs.  There were a total of 57 signatures; and 43 ratifications, accessions and acceptances; two objections; and one withdrawal of a reservation.

TheOptional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights(whichopened for signature during this 2009 Treaty Event) received the widest support with 29 signatures (Portugal, Belgium, Finland, Gabon, Mali, Montenegro, Ukraine, Uruguay, Ecuador, Luxembourg, Senegal, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Ghana, Slovakia, Spain, Chile, Netherlands, Guatemala, Argentina, El Salvador, Madagascar, Congo, Guinea Bissau, Togo, Azerbaijan, Timor-Leste, Italy and Armenia).

“2009 was a very good year in terms of progress towards a universal participation to international treaties.  My hope is that the support to international law will continue to grow during next year’s Treaty Event,” commented Legal Counsel PatriciaO’Brien today.  She also expressed special appreciation for the overwhelming support obtained by the new Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, a treaty which “will put economic, social and cultural rights on a more equal footing to civil and political rights than was the case before”, she added.

The Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea(designated as “Rotterdam Rules”, which opened to signature last Wednesday in this Dutch city) received 19 signatures (Congo, Denmark, France, Gabon, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Senegal, Spain, Switzerland, Togo, United States, Madagascar, Cameroon and Armenia).

Highlights of the 2009 Treaty Event include:

Human Rights-Related Treaties

-- The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, 2000,received 2 additional parties – South Africa and the Netherlands -- and 1 additional signatory –- Solomon Islands -- taking the number of signatories to 125 and 130 parties.

-- The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 2006, received 1 signature ( Monaco) and 4 ratifications ( Portugal, Turkey, Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Czech Republic).  The Optional Protocol to theConvention was also signed by the Solomon Islands and Turkey and ratified by Portugal.

-- The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, 2006, ( Spain and Germany) and the International Covenant onCivil and Political Rights, 1966 (Lao People’s Democratic Republic) also received ratifications during this year's Treaty Event.

Environment, Sustainable Development and Climate Change

-- The International Tropical Timber Agreement, 2006, which has not yet entered into force, received 2 signatures (Mali and Estonia) and 1 ratification (Italy) bringing the total number of States Parties to 24.

-- Indonesia ratified the Stockholm Convention on Persistent OrganicPollutants, 2001, bringing the total number of State parties to the Convention to 166.

Terrorism, Organized Crime and Penal Matters

-- The International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of NuclearTerrorism received 1 accession ( Solomon Islands), and 3 ratifications ( United Kingdom, Lichtenstein and Brazil), taking the number of State parties to 58.  The Convention entered into force in 2007 and provides that each party shall notify the Secretary-General of the jurisdiction it has established under its national law in accordance with paragraph 2 of article 9.  Should any change take place, the party concerned shall immediately notify the Secretary-General (article 9).

-- 2 ratifications were received for the Convention against Corruption, 2003, ( Switzerland and Lao People’s Democratic Republic).

-- The Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the InternationalCriminal Court was also ratified by Spain.


-- The Convention on Cluster Munitionsreceived 2 signatures ( Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Cyprus) and 4 ratifications ( Uruguay, Malta, France and Burundi), taking the total number of State parties to 21.

-- The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, 1996, was ratified by Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Since the first Treaty Event held in 2000, a total of 1,549 treaty actions have taken place during these annual events.  Treaty actions include signatures, ratifications, approvals, acceptances, accessions and consents to be bound.

For further information on the 2009 Treaty Event (including photos of treaty actions by Government representative), please visit the new United Nations Treaty Database website at

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.