Palestine on Friday became a formal party to five global treaties banning torture and racial discrimination, and protecting the rights of women, children and the disabled, the UN said. Rupert Colville, spokesman for the UN human rights office, told reporters that the move followed the Palestinians’ April 2 declaration to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that they were adopting the treaties.
In addition, Palestine will on May 7 become party to an accord protecting children in conflict zones – which is an optional part of the overall child rights treaty – and on July 2 it will adopt two agreements governing civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.
“This accession to seven core human rights treaties and a key protocol is a significant step towards enhancing the promotion and protection of human rights in Palestine,” Coville told reporters.
“It is notable in a region with a high number of reservations to human rights treaties, that Palestine is acceding to eight human rights treaties without making a single reservation,” he added.
In the face of fierce Israeli opposition, Palestine won observer status at the United Nations in November 2012, opening the way for it to adopt a host of international accords.
The Palestinians had pledged to freeze all moves to seek membership in UN organisations and international conventions – a stepping stone to recognition of their hoped-for state – during peace the talks in return for Israel’s release of veteran Arab prisoners.
But President Mahmud Abbas launched a new diplomatic drive this year, amid blame-trading with Israel over the stalled negotiations.
In addition to the UN treaties, the Palestinians have also signed up formally to the Geneva Conventions, which set down the rules of warfare and humanitarian operations in conflict zones.
The Palestinians also submitted requests to the United Nations to adopt accords including the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, and an anti-corruption agreement.