Press Releases

    L/T/4387
    23 May 2005

    Book “Focus 2005:  Responding to Global Challenges” to Be Launched 23 May; Preparation for September Headquarters Event

    International Terrorism Major Focus

    NEW YORK, 20 May (UN Office of Legal Affairs) -- Treaties responding to global challenges such as international terrorism are the topic of Focus 2005: Responding to Global Challenges, the booklet produced by the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs Treaty Section, which will be launched on 23 May by Palitha Kohona, Chief of the Treaty Section, Office of Legal Affairs, after the noon briefing (room S-226).

    The booklet is issued in preparation for the annual treaty event intended to encourage Member States to sign and ratify treaties deposited with the Secretary-General, which will take place from 14 to 16 September at United Nations Headquarters during the General Assembly high-level summit meeting.

    The new Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism will open for signature during the Focus 2005 event.  The Secretary-General’s “In Larger Freedom” report and his new, principled, comprehensive five-point counter-terrorism strategy both emphasize the importance of the conclusion of this important Convention.  The event will also seek to increase participation in the 1997 International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings and the 1999 International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.

    The booklet contains information on 32 treaties, such as their Parties, if and when they entered into force and what they are intended to accomplish.  It highlights the key objectives and provisions of these treaties, and outlines the overarching legal framework.

    The publication may also be viewed in the United Nations Treaty Collection on the Internet at http://untreaty.un.org, and will be circulated to all of the Permanent Missions in New York.  The 32 highlighted treaties relate to human rights, refugees, penal matters, terrorism, organized crime and corruption, the environment, law of the sea, disarmament, health and the law of treaties.

    During the treaty event, Member States will be able to sign, ratify or accede to any treaty for which the Secretary-General acts as depositary.  The multilateral treaty framework, which underpins much of today’s international relations, has witnessed spectacular growth since the establishment of the United Nations:  today, more than 500 multilateral treaties are deposited with the Secretary-General.

    The Secretary-General initiated the annual “Treaty Event” in 2000, to promote participation in the multilateral treaty framework.  These events provide a high-profile opportunity for States to demonstrate their commitment to the international rule of law.  A total of 930 treaty actions have been undertaken at these events.

    Consistent with the focus of last November’s report of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, the treaties chosen for Focus 2005 reflect the fact noted in the report that “the central challenge for the twenty-first century is to fashion a new and broader understanding, bringing together all these strands, of what collective security means -- and of all the responsibilities, commitments, strategies and institutions that come with it if a collective security system is to be effective, efficient and equitable”.

    This year’s treaty event and the Focus 2005 booklet brings together core human rights treaties -- the two International Covenants on human rights, treaties on the rights of children and migrant workers -- with those more directly connected with armed conflict, such as the Genocide Convention, the Convention against Torture and its Optional Protocol, Conventions on refugees, as well as the Rome Statute, which established the International Criminal Court.

    Treaties on organized crime and corruption are featured, as are those on the law of the sea and environmental issues, such as biological diversity and organic pollutants.  The Kyoto Protocol to the Convention on Climate Change, which entered into force earlier this year, is also highlighted in Focus 2005. 

    As Secretary-General Kofi Annan emphasizes in his report In Larger Freedom, the goals of security, development, and human rights are interconnected.  Thus, Focus 2005 also highlights treaties on disarmament, including the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty, law of the sea, including the Agreement on Straddling Fish Stocks, health and the law of treaties.

    The treaties also reflect the international community’s efforts over 60 years to build a multilateral framework of agreed rules not only to govern inter-State relations, but also to strengthen the legal environment in which individuals live and businesses operate.  Wider participation in the highlighted treaties would help advance development, security and human rights.

    In his report In Larger Freedom, the Secretary-General noted that “the cause of larger freedom can only be advanced by broad, deep and sustained global cooperation among States”.  In his March letter of invitation to the treaty event, he, therefore, asked Heads of State or Government to “demonstrate their continuing commitment to the central role of the rule of law in international relations by participating in the annual treaty event of the United Nations”.

    For an up-to-date status of the treaties, see http://untreaty.un.org (username and password may be obtained by contacting the Treaty Section, Office of Legal Affairs at the number below).

    For additional information, please contact Ellen McGuffie in the Department of Public Information at (212) 963-0499, or Palitha Kohona in the Treaty Section, Office of Legal Affairs, at (212) 963-5048.

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    TREATY EVENT:  FOCUS 2005 RESPONDING TO GLOBAL CHALLENGES

    List of 32 Multilateral Treaties Responding to Global Challenges
    (Only treaties highlighted with an asterisk (*) are still open for signature.
    All treaties are open for ratification, acceptance, approval and accession
    in accordance with their provisions.)

    Human Rights

    1. International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (New York, 16 December 1966)*

    2. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (New York, 16 December 1966)*

    3. Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (New York, 16 December 1966)*

    4. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (New York, 9 December 1948)

    5. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (New York, 10 December 1984)*

    6. Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (New York, 18 December 2002)*

    7. International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (New York, 18 December 1990)*

    8. Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict (New York, 25 May 2000)*

    9. Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (New York, 25 May 2000)*

    Refugees

    10. Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (Geneva, 28 July 1951)

    11. Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees (New York, 31 January 1967)

    Penal Matters

    12. Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (Rome, 17 July 1998)

    13. Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the International Criminal Court (New York, 9 September 2002)

    14. Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel (New York, 9 December 1994)

    Terrorism

    15. International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings (New York, 15 December 1997)

    16. International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism (New York, 9 December 1999)

    17. International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (New York, 13 April 2005)*

    Organized Crime and Corruption

    18. United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (New York, 15 November 2000)

    19. Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (New York, 15 November 2000)

    20. Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (New York, 15 November 2000)

    21. Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (New York, 31 May 2001)

    22. United Nations Convention against Corruption (New York, 31 October 2003)*

    Environment

    23. Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Kyoto, 11 December 1997)

    24. Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade (Rotterdam, 10 September 1998)

    25. Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (Stockholm, 22 May 2001)

    26. Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity (Montreal, 29 January 2000)

    Law of the Sea

    27. United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Montego Bay, 10 December 1982); Agreement relating to the implementation of Part XI of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 (New York, 28 July 1994)

    28. Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks (New York, 4 August 1995)

    Disarmament

    29. Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (New York, 10 September 1996)*

    30. Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (Oslo, 18 September 1997)

    Health

    31. WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (Geneva, 21 May 2003)

    Law of Treaties

    32. Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (Vienna, 23 May 1969)

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