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PM Signs Or Ratifies Six UN Treaties At Summit

PM Signs Or Ratifies Six UN Treaties At Millennium Summit

New Zealand's endorsement of six United Nations (UN) treaties shows the country's strong continued commitment to the UN's work, said Prime Minister Helen Clark, who is signing them at the New York Millennium Summit today.

"New Zealand's ratification and signing of these treaties proves our commitment to the UN's treaty framework. We have a proud history of UN involvement and today's treaty actions underline this," Helen Clark said today.

"Signing and becoming party to these treaties shows New Zealand's commitment to the rule of law in the international arena, and to the UN's work. New Zealand is also showing the rest of the world its strong commitment to the promotion, enforcement and protection of human rights everybody is entitled to."

While more than sixty states attending the Summit signed treaties, New Zealand was one of the countries which signed the most.

Helen Clark said United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan had urged attendees to sign or complete treaty action on 25 core treaties capturing essential UN and UN Charter objectives, and New Zealand had taken his call seriously.

The treaties which New Zealand signed or became party to are:

 Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC). Designed to enhance the international legal protection for children from sexual and other forms of exploitation across borders, and for children in armed conflict.

 Optional Protocol to the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). It allows women to make individual complaints alleging a violation of the Convention if they have exhausted all avenues in New Zealand.

 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC will have jurisdiction over individuals who commit genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. (To be established once 60 states have ratified the Statute.)

 Desertification Convention. This addresses the environmental concern of encroaching deserts and the effects for developing countries such as malnutrition, famine, migration, and conflict.

 Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. An important addition to the framework of international treaties to deny international terrorists any safe haven.

Helen Clark also told Summit members of New Zealand's intention to accede to the Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, and reiterated the government's intention to ratify the Kyoto Protocol by the time of the 2002 UN Climate Change Convention, which is being held on the tenth anniversary of the Rio Earth Summit.


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