Note to Correspondents

Note No. 5691
5 November 2001


NEW YORK, 2 November (UN Headquarters) -- A special treaty event focusing on United Nations conventions relating to terrorism will take place from 10 to 16 November at United Nations Headquarters, coinciding with the Assembly’s General Debate. During the week-long event, special arrangements will be made for heads of State and government and ministers to sign, ratify or accede to the conventions deposited with the Secretary-General.

In a letter to heads of State and government, the Secretary-General urged States to reaffirm their abhorrence of terrorism by becoming party to the international conventions that establish a legal framework for dealing with the scourge, thereby also contributing to the advancement of the international rule of law.

The United Nations has worked consistently towards eliminating terrorism, and most recently, the General Assembly, by resolution 56/1 and the Security Council, by resolutions 1368 (2001) and 1373 (2001), have expressed in the clearest of terms their revulsion at terrorist acts which essentially target innocent men, women and children.

The Secretary-General hopes that this treaty event will contribute to strengthening the international rule of law. A similar treaty event from 19 September to 5 October focused on treaties relating to the rights of women and children, during which 61 countries undertook 135 treaty actions –- signatures, ratifications and accessions. A treaty event held last year during the Millennium Summit saw 84 countries undertaking 274 treaty actions -- 187 signatures and 87 ratifications and similar actions -- with regard to 40 multilateral treaties deposited with the Secretary-General.

Since its inception, the United Nations has played a major role in the development and codification of international law, also providing an effective forum for the negotiation of international conventions. The Legal (Sixth) Committee of the General Assembly is currently negotiating a comprehensive convention on terrorism.

At present there are 12 global conventions that address various aspects of terrorism adopted under the aegis of the United Nations and its specialized agencies. Four of these are deposited with the Secretary-General, and will be the focus of the treaty event. These conventions, and their status as at 1 November, are:

  • The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, Including Diplomatic Agents, 1973, (25 signatories and 107 parties);
  • The International Convention against the Taking of Hostages, 1979 (39 signatories and 97 parties);
  • The International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, 1997 (58 signatories and 29 parties); and
  • The International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, 1999 (69 signatories and five parties, not yet in force).

In his letter of invitation, the Secretary-General stressed that "States also need to take adequate measures to implement the obligations under these treaties within their domestic jurisdictions. Such domestic implementation becomes essential if we are to deal with this problem effectively." He also extended an offer to assist those States which need assistance in the implementation of treaty obligations.

Further information on United Nations conventions may be obtained from the United Nations Treaty Web site at

For terrorism-related conventions, see

For further information on the event, please contact Palitha Kohona, Chief, Treaty Section, Office of Legal Affairs, tel. (212) 963 5048.

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