Multilateral Human Rights Treaties That Have Not Been Signed and Ratified by the U.S.

The U.S. has a proud international human rights record. A prior post looked at the 19 significant multilateral human rights treaties to which the U.S. is a party.

But this record is not perfect.

There are nine other such treaties that have been signed by the U.S., but not yet ratified, as discussed in another post.

In addition, there are at least seven other significant human rights treaties that the U.S. has not yet even signed, thereby negating the possibility of their being ratified by the U.S.[1] They are the following (with the dates they generally went into force):

  1. Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (3/23/1976);[2]
  2. Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (7/11/1991);[3]
  3. International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (7/1/2003);
  4. Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel. Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (6/22/2006);[4]
  5. International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (12/23/2010));
  6. Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture (2/28/1987); and
  7. Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women (4/22/1994).

This list plus the list of treaties signed, but not yet ratified, by the U.S., show that the work of U.S. human rights advocates is not finished.

We must continue to press for U.S. signing (in seven instances) and ratification of these 16 treaties. We also must continue to investigate possible violations of all human rights treaties all around the world. We must continue to take private action (where possible) to enforce these treaties. We must continue to press for enforcement of those treaties by the U.S., by other countries around the world and by international organizations. In the meantime, we must continue our efforts to educate people and governments about these important principles and international law of human rights.

[1] See David Weissbrodt, Fionnuala Ni Aolain, Joan Fitzpatrick, Frank Newman, International Human Rights: Law, Policy, and Process at 138-39 (4th ed. LexisNexis 2009).

[2] The Optional Protocol to the ICCPR grants the U.N. Committee on Human Rights jurisdiction to consider individuals’ complaints of alleged violations of the Covenant.

[3] The Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR seeks the abolition of the death penalty.

[4] The Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture establishes the Subcommittee on Prevention and a system of regular inspections of places of detention by independent observers.

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As a retired lawyer and adjunct law professor, Duane W. Krohnke has developed strong interests in U.S. and international law, politics and history. He also is a Christian and an active member of Minneapolis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church. His blog draws from these and other interests. He delights in the writing freedom of blogging that does not follow a preordained logical structure. The ex post facto logical organization of the posts and comments is set forth in the continually being revised “List of Posts and Comments–Topical” in the Pages section on the right side of the blog.

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