Friday, July 3, 2009

The US human rights treaty ratification record

The US has been visible in an unfortunate way in the human rights treaty system by its failure to ratify most of the core human rights treaties. Presently it is a party only to:
  • the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ratified in 1992)

  • the Convention against Torture (ratified in 1994)

  • the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racism (ratified in 1994)

The US has also ratified in 2002 the 2 optional protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, but not the main Convention itself. The 2 protocols are on the prohibition of child soldiers and the prevention of the sale, prostitution, pornography or trafficking of children.

Now comes the Obama Administration which has apparently signalled a willingness to put forward two additional ratifications to the US Senate -- the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the newest treaty, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Both committees noted this development in their general remarks at this Inter-Committee meeting and urged the US government to initiate ratification efforts as soon as possible. It would appear from the remarks made by both Chairpersons that each Committee has been in communication with the Obama Administration on this topic.

It would be nice to see the US join the human rights treaty system in this manner, by adding two more ratificaitons, but why stop there? The other human rights treaties to which the US is not yet a party include:

  • the International Covenant on Economic, Social & Cultural Rights (entered into force in 1976, now ratified by 160 countries)

  • the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (entered into force in 1981, now ratified by 186 countries)

  • the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (entered into force in 2003, now ratified by 41 countries)

  • the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance (this treaty has not yet entered into force; it requires 20 ratifications and only has 10 so far)

Penny Parker

No comments:

Post a Comment