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BigLogo.gif UN Member States on the Record

Annual Treaty Event advances rights of the child and regulation of arms trade

Friday, 4 October 2013, New York | Department of Public Information

During the course of the General Debate at UN Headquarters, 59 States took 113 treaty actions at the annual Treaty Event. This year's event, which took place from 24 to 26 September and 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 UN 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.

Much of the attention was focused on the Arms Trade Treaty, which was signed by 27 countries -- including by U.S. 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. The treaty, adopted in April 2013, 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 Russian 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,” said Ms. Marta Santos Pais, the 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.

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.