RatificationProcess-OP3CRC

How can a State ratify OP3 CRC?

What does ratification of the OP3 CRC mean?

OP3 CRC is an international treaty and so States must formally agree to be bound by it in order for its provisions to apply to them.

States usually take a two-step approach to give their consent:
  1. A high-level State representative first signs the treaty to show political commitment. States can sign a treaty at any time at the United Nations headquarters in New York, USA. Since the mere signature of a treaty does not legally bind the State, the decision to sign can often be taken by the government only and in a short time frame.
  1. A high-level State representative ratifies the treaty and thereby accepts to be legally bound by the treaty. States can ratify a treaty at any time at the United Nations headquarters in New York, USA. The ratification process of a treaty differs from one State to another and may require the national Parliament’s approval before the government can ratify. The process to follow is generally described in the State’s Constitution.

There is no formal reason why States should take this two-step approach. In fact several States have both signed and ratified an international treaty at the same time.

General process

The process that a State needs to follow to ratify an international treaty, such as OP3 CRC, is usually defined in the State’s Constitution. It differs from one State to another but is often launched by the executive power, namely the government, and finalised with  the approval of the legislative power, namely the Parliament. Signature of an international treaty generally only requires the decision of the executive power.

Check States’ Constitutions to find out what is the process in your country and who needs to be convinced!

Once the decision has been taken to ratify OP3 CRC, an empowered representative of the State needs to sign the treaty at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, USA. It will often be the ambassador of the diplomatic mission of the State concerned, in which case, an additional process giving him/her full powers is required.

Indeed, only Heads of State, Heads of Government or Ministers for Foreign Affairs are empowered, by virtue of their functions, to sign and ratify treaties on behalf of States without having to produce full powers to that effect. Other representatives wishing to sign the Protocol must be in possession of appropriate full powers emanating from one of these authorities.

Therefore States wishing to sign and ratify the Protocol should provide the required full powers in advance to the Treaty Section, Office of Legal Affairs, at United Nations Headquarters (fax 1 (212) 963-3693).

More information on full powers, can be found in the Treaty Handbook.

2013 UN Treaty event

Each year, the United Nations organise a Treaty Event to encourage States to ratify international treaties. In 2013, the UN Treaty Event was held between 24 to 26 September and 30 September and 1 October. During this event, 2 States, Montenegro and Portugal, ratified OP3 CRC, while 6 others signed it!

image (c) Kindernothilfe