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08 February 2017
Statement by UNA-NCA President on How International Treaties Strengthen US National Security

 The challenges of the 21st century are mostly global in nature—terrorism, climate change, pandemics, an interconnected global economy, among many others. International treaties are an efficient and essential means of addressing these challenges. Treaties such as the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the Chemical Weapons Treaty, the United Nations Framework on Climate Change, the Convention Against Torture, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and some 12 Treaties on International Terrorism, to cite but a few examples, are critical tools in keeping our citizens and future generations safe from the ravages of war, environmental degradation, global instability, and authoritarian aggression. Moreover, they universalize values embedded in our Constitutional Republic and free society.

According to press reports, a draft executive order has been circulating in the Administration that would initiate a review of multilateral treaties to ascertain which negotiations or treaties we should leave. Hopefully it is on the back burner for the present. Entitled "Moratorium on New Multilateral Treaties," the review would not involve treaties directly related to national security, extradition and international trade. Treaties that have been ratified by a two-thirds Senate majority presumably advance our national security. After all, the Senate has hardly rushed to ratify international treaties. There are more than 40 pending before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, some for many years. A constructive review would undoubtedly demonstrate the value of ratifying several treaties that strongly advance US interests. For example, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea would strengthen our hand in the turbulent South China Sea and Persian Gulf and protect our marine environment. The Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities would universalize US law on disabilities and even the competitive playing field globally. The Conventions on (1) The Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and (2) The Rights of the Child would enshrine US values in the fight against the subjection of women and abuse of children in other cultures. We should be embarrassed that the US is the only country that has not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. We have more company in failing to ratify CEDAW: Iran, Somalia and Sudan.

In a meeting this week, UNA-NCA's International Law Committee discussed the possibility of doing a series on how international treaties serve US national security interests. If you are interested in working on such a program, please contact UNA-NCA Membership and Program Director, Hanna Hayden ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).

-Ambassador Donald T. Bliss (retired)
President, United Nations Association of the National Capital Area
 

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