Palestinians Formally Join UN Human Rights Treaties

Treaties to which PA is now party ban torture and racial discrimination, and protect the rights of women, children and disabled.

Gazans rally on International Labor Day this week.AP

The Palestine Authority became a formal party to five global treaties on Friday, the United Nations announced.

The treaties ban torture and racial discrimination, and protect the rights of women, children and the disabled, according to the Ma'an news agency.

The authority it due to join an accord protecting children in conflict zones – which is an optional part of the overall child rights treaty – on May 7 and two agreements governing civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights on July 2.

Rupert Colville, spokesman for the UN human rights office, told reporters that the formal move followed the PA's April 2 declaration to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that it was adopting the treaties.

“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,” Colville said.

The PA won observer status at the UN in November 2012, opening the way for it to adopt a host of international accords. However, the authority undertook to freeze all moves to seek membership in UN organizations and international conventions for the duration of peace talks with Israel.

Those talks proved to be inconclusive and expired this week.

In addition to the UN treaties, the PA has also signed up formally to the Geneva Conventions, which established the rules of warfare and humanitarian operations in conflict zones.

It also submitted requests to the UN to adopt accords including the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, and an anti-corruption agreement.