• UN Charter 1945 established the recognition of human rights. Provided the development of the human
rights declaration of 1948. Not a legally binding document, aspirational document. Now binding law as
used frequently in international, national and local courts.
Difference in terminology between declaration, treaty, conventions, covenant etc.
o Can be drafted in the UN commission, or coalition of NGOs then often picked up by diplomats,
intellectuals or governments.
• Instrument – generic term for any type of agreement
• Declaration – agreement but is an aspirational document, not legally binding.
• Treaties and Conventions are legally binding. Conventions or covenants involve many states.
• Protocol – an amendment to a convention, covenant or treaty
• Ratify conventions, don’t sign them. States sign conventions or covenants so that they can move them
forward in the system to get closer to ratifying them. Ratifying a convention makes it legal in the
o In countries with the British parliamentary system, in strict law, the crown ratifies the treaty (but
now the PM or party in power).
o In the US, foreign affairs are handled by the Senate foreign affairs committee. > sometimes
the President signs the treaty but the Senate committee does not agree. i.e. Woodrow Wilson
signed the L of N treaty but the US never ratified it.
• State party to the convention (once a country has ratified the convention).
• In all treaties there are clauses that indicate how many countries have to ratify in order for the treaty to
come into force. If a country has not ratified at that time but ratifies later they are exceeding to it.
• Once a country ratifies a convention they are expected to implement it in their country.
Sometimes countries can ratify a treaty but take reservations (exemptions from the conventions). Limit
to not undermine the convention.
• Memorandum of Underst