find the latest legal job
Part Time Risk & Compliance Officer
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Brisbane City · Flexible Part Time Hours
View details
Infrastructure Lawyer/SA
Category: Construction Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Global elite law firm · Dedicated Infrastructure team
View details
Property Lawyer
Category: Property Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· 12 Month Contract · Diverse Work
View details
Family Lawyer
Category: Family Law | Location: Eastern Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Boutique Firm · Great Reputation
View details
Infrastructure Lawyers
Category: Construction Law | Location: All Perth WA
· We'd be particularly interested to hear from you if you were a lawyer who knows your way around the infrastructure and energy sectors.
View details
UN treaty system under threat

UN treaty system under threat

The United Nations treaty system is crumbling and urgently needs reform if it is to be effective, according to 2011 Senior Australian of the Year and Emeritus Professor Ron McCallum AO.Speaking…

The United Nations treaty system is crumbling and urgently needs reform if it is to be effective, according to 2011 Senior Australian of the Year and Emeritus Professor Ron McCallum AO.

Speaking at a Law Week breakfast hosted by Minter Ellison in Sydney this morning (18 May), McCallum - who is totally blind - spoke of his work as Chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and how a lack of funding coupled with a growing number of treaty bodies is crippling the system.

McCallum said that while he firmly believes in the UN and what it stands for, the fact that the number of treaty bodies has increased from five to nine over the last 10 years, with another two to be established shortly, means that UN funds are being stretched beyond breaking point. As such, many countries are unable to meet their reporting obligations, making the treaty system futile.

"Conventions are words on paper, and we want to make them living," said McCallum. "And the only way to do that is if nations [meet their reporting requirements]."

However, McCallum said that it is generally considered a victory if only 50 per cent of countries which are party to a UN treaty meet their reporting requirements, and the number of nations able to fund staff to fulfill reporting obligations under a growing number of treaties is dwindling.

"The nations that we want to report [to us] are often smaller and poorer nations," said McCallum. "The system will grind to a halt unless something is done."

McCallum also spoke of the importance of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in ensuring that the true situation about human rights in any given country comes to light.

"When governments report, the temptation is to look as good as possible," he said. "Most countries don't want to hang out all their dirty washing at once ... We rely on alternative reports from NGOs."

McCallum, who also teaches law at the University of Sydney and consultant at HWL Ebsworth, said being a part of the CRPD is an "extraordinary privilege".

A review of the treaty system, of which McCallum will be a part, is currently being planned.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

UN treaty system under threat
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Nov 17 2017
It's time for politicians to commit to eradicating domestic violence
The national shame of domestic violence cannot be left unaddressed, writes Christine Smyth. ...
Nov 16 2017
From lawyer in law firm to senior governance professional
Promoted by Governance Institute of Australia As a law graduate, Kate Griffiths never imagined...
marriage equality
Nov 16 2017
Legislation the next hurdle for marriage equality
Lawyers have underscored the importance of ensuring same-sex marriage legislation does not limit ant...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...