The United Nations Treaty Event took place last week, highlighting arms trade regulations and children’s rights advocacy. The annual meeting brings countries together to enact treaties addressing critical international issues. This year 59 states participated in 113 treaty actions.
The Security-General of the United Nations invites Governments and Heads of States to the annual event to participate in treaty signatures and ratifications to incite support for international treaties in a more time effective way. The event takes place during the General Assembly session and the Security-General selects particular treaties to be the focus of that year. The UN also uses this event to raise public awareness of international law.
The United States was one of the 27 countries that signed the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was the one to sign his name. The treaty regulates all conventional arms, from battle tanks to warships. A spokesperson for UN’s Secretary-General found it significant that the largest arms-exporting country in the world, the United States, now has role in arms regulation.
Russia made the first move at the Event to shed light on advancing child rights. Their Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced the country’s ratification of an Optional Protocol, highlighting efforts for protecting children from violence and exploitation through sale, pornography and prostitution. The Convention on the Rights of the Child set non-negotiable standards and obligations on their proposed Optional Protocols. Other such Protocols involved the prohibition of child soldiers and giving children a voice in the UN in regards to reporting abuse of their rights.
While the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Violence against Children was happy that her cause was being emphasized, she stated it “is just the start of a very long process, and a continuous process of national implementation.” (UN News)
Other popular topics included Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products, and Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Bans.
Is the UN Treaty Event an effective way to get countries involved in international issues? Do you think the UN Treaty Event got their focus right this year? Are there any other international issues do you think the UN failed to highlight?
Source: UN News
Photo Source: UN Treaty
I do think the United Nations Treaty Event is an effective way to bring leaders of many world countries together to discuss and implement important international goals. Specifically, the issue of child rights was a crucial and productive area for the General Assembly to focus. More and more child rights advocates are able to have their voices heard. Malala Yousafzai, 16 year old international icon for equal rights in education specifically gender equality, spoke at the UN in New York this past summer, on July 12, 2013. Her gentle strength and compassion for everyone, including the Taliban who attempted, and still attempt her assassination, is inspiring. There are children around the globe who are living in constant cultural oppression. These children are the future of our world and the General Assembly has recognized the importance to fight for these children’s basic rights. Having met Malala myself, I am able to appreciate her genuine power for good and the inherent ability she has to move people around her. My hope is that her story will provide other children, in similar situations, to remain true to what they believe and know is right.
I think the UN Treaty Event helps to gather countries together and take an active step to involve in international issues. It is a special event which calls for attention from all the countries and invites the member states to actively do something related to issues going on in the world. I think their focus on children rights this year is crucial because as Ms. Sullivan pointed out they are the future of our world, and we need to make sure that their fundamental rights are protected at a heightened level. Also, the focus on arms trade regulations is important because it will probably help promote safe and effective trade in the international community as well as profitable.
I think the UN Treaty Event should have focused on the use of excessive police force as well and come up with some kind of treaty/convention that will force the member states, if ratified and signed, follow a certain standard when responding to incidents like demonstrations or protests because we have recently seen several instances in some countries where the police force was disproportionate against the civilians, and their fundamental rights are violated through the use of excessive police force. Therefore, I believe that this was one of the serious issues that the UN had to consider this year during this event and take actions but it failed to address.