To Ratify or Not to Ratify? An assessment of the case for ratification of international human rights treaties in the Pacific
The Pacific region has the lowest regional rate of ratification of international human rights treaties in the world. There is currently considerable pressure on Pacific Island states from various quarters to ratify the core human rights treaties. Intuitively, ratification of human rights treaties should support more effective governance, and therefore contribute to security and stability in the Pacific. Will it? This paper explores whether ratifying human rights treaties is a useful way to advance the cause of human rights in the Pacific. Part I of the paper takes a current “snapshot” of the ratification project in the Pacific by setting out the current levels of ratification, looking at the reasons for low ratification, and noting the recent calls for greater ratification. Part II sets out the key consequences for states of ratifying international human rights treaties, and then looks at the benefits and drawbacks of ratification. In light of this context, Part III considers strategies Pacific states might adopt in responding to the call for ratification.