In the Declaration of the High-level Meeting on the Rule of Law, Member States reaffirmed that States shall abide by all their obligations under international law

[para. 37]. In doing so, Member States echoed the Preamble of the Charter of the United Nations which states as one of the aims of the UN “to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained”.

The Secretary-General is the main depositary of multilateral treaties in the world. At present, over 560 multilateral treaties are deposited with the Secretary-General, addressing a broad range of issues including the human rights, disarmament and the environment. As depositary, the Secretary-General is responsible for ensuring the proper execution of all treaty actions relating to that treaty. In practice, the Treaty Section of the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs carries out depositary functions on behalf of the Secretary-General.

In accordance with Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations, and with the aim of ensuring that all treaties and international agreements remain in the public domain, the Secretariat of the United Nations, through the Treaty Section of the Office of Legal Affairs, also supports the registration and subsequent publication of all treaties concluded by Member States.

In fulfilment of these functions, the Secretary-General maintains a comprehensive on-line resource, the United Nations Treaty Collection, which provides access to up-to-date information on the status of all Multilateral Treaties Deposited with the Secretary-General and the tens of thousands of treaties registered by States in accordance with Article 102 of the Charter.

The Legal (Sixth) Committee is the primary forum for the consideration of legal questions in the General Assembly. The UN system further supports the progressive development and codification of international law through the work of the International Law Commission, commended in the Declaration of the High-level Meeting on the Rule of Law [para. 33].

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