For information only - not an official document.
Press Release No: UNIS/GA/1671
Release Date: 28 August 2000
World Leaders Respond to Secretary-General’s Call
To Sign and Ratify Treaties

 NEW YORK, 25 August -- An exceptional response has been generated to the Secretary- General’s call to all heads of State and government to use the unique opportunity afforded by the forthcoming Millennium Summit, to rededicate themselves to the international legal framework by becoming parties to the treaties deposited with him.  The Summit will be largest gathering of world leaders ever, and will be held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, from 6 to 8 September.  A special facility will be designated for the Treaty Ceremonies.

To date, 69 States have informed the Secretary-General that they will participate in the event during the three-day Summit by signing, ratifying or acceding to a number of multilateral treaties of which he is the custodian.  The majority of States will undertake treaty actions at the Presidential or Prime Ministerial level.  Some will undertake treaty actions relating to multiple treaties by signing or depositing instruments of ratification relating to over seven treaties each. 

Most treaty actions will relate to approximately 37 treaties, the majority of which cover human rights, disarmament, the environment, and international criminal law.  At least 35 States have indicated their intention to sign the two recently concluded Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child relating to child prostitution and children in armed conflict.  The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women will be the focus for a number of them.  Reflecting the international community’s abhorrence of terrorism, several States have stated their intention to undertake treaty action related to the Convention on the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings.  The Statute of the International Criminal Court will be the subject of treaty actions by a number of them.

 These treaties will, while regulating inter-State relations, also have a significant impact on the lives of citizens, and have been the foundation of much of the political, social and economic progress achieved since the end of the Second World War.  Many identify the rule of law as a close second to peace and security,in the work of the United Nations.  The body of 517 multilateral treaties deposited with the Secretary-General covers the spectrum of human activity and reflects the desire of States to establish enforceable rights and obligations among themselves, in effect, to further enhance the international rule of law.  They also voice the concerns and aspirations of ordinary people, and have the distinct potential to improve their daily lives.  

 It is anticipated that this event will highlight the importance of international law in our era of globalization and will reinforce the need to teach international law in national law schools. 

 For further information on the Treaty Signing Event during the Millennium Summit, please contact either: Palitha Kohona, Chief of the Treaty Section in the Office of Legal Affairs at (212) 963-5048 ; by email:; or Leona Forman, Department of Public Information at (212) 963-4481; by email:

 Additionally, information is available through the United Nations Treaty Collection on the Internet  ( or at the United Nations homepage: (by pressing the Millennium Assembly icon).

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