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Legal Division & Treaties
The Legal Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs is responsible for the preparation of Aruban policies and the promotion of the Aruban interests in the context of the development of international understandings and international agreements in accordance with the Charter of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and coordinates the implementation of agreements in national law.
The Legal Division is also responsible for (solicited or unsolicited) advice on legal aspects of International legal issues and issues with aspects of international law with regard to Aruba.
Written understandings with regard to international cooperation can be concluded in either treaties or so-called memoranda of understanding; depending on the situation. Treaties are legally binding but a memorandum of understanding (MOU) is merely an international policy document and not legally binding.
The legal definition of a treaty is a binding arrangement concluded in writing between states, or states and an international organization. It can have several different names, but whether it is called an agreement, a convention or a protocol it is still a treaty.
There are two types of treaties: bilateral and multilateral treaties. A bilateral treaty is concluded between two parties and a multilateral treaty is concluded by more parties. Treaties are concluded on a wide range of subjects: for example aviation, taxation, human rights, combating terrorism and extradition. The Kingdom of the Netherlands is currently party to over 7000 treaties and signs about 100 new every year.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands comprises of four parts: the Netherlands in Europe and the Caribbean parts Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, and the Caribbean countries of Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten. A treaty is signed for the Kingdom as a whole. Each part of the Kingdom decides whether the treaty should apply to its territory. This process is coordinated by the Legal Division. A close cooperation exists between the Treaties Division and the International Law Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. Presently about 1800 treaties apply to Aruba.
Human Rights Treaties
Since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, an extensive set of human rights instruments has been created. International human rights norms have gradually been expanded and refined in conventions and agreements. These norms seek to set a minimum standard of human dignity: that is, the dignity of every individual, regardless of the wider contexts like tribe, social class and state, of which every human being is part. Human rights are therefore universal by definition and apply to everyone, everywhere at all times. Over the years, the view that their universality is precisely what makes them the legitimate concern of the international community has gained acceptance. Since the Second World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna in 1993, the inalienability of all human rights has been increasingly emphasized. Civil and political rights are inextricably bound up with economic, social and cultural rights.
Aruba is party to many treaties containing provisions regarding human rights, including:
- The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
- The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;
- The International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination;
- The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women;
- The International Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;
- The European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;
- The European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;
- The European Social Charter;
- The Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The Legal Division coordinates the preparation of the reports which Aruba, in accordance with its obligations as defined in these treaties, periodically submits to the United Nations supervisory committees.
Treaties to which the Kingdom of the Netherlands is or will be a party are officially published in the Tractatenblad (Official Treaties Gazette). This Gazette contains treaty texts and other information pertaining to a particular treaty.
The Treaty Database (Verdragenbank) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands , which is only available in Dutch, contains all information about treaties.
International Organizations and other countries also publish treaty information on the internet. See the links below:
- Council of Europe
- European Union
- Hague Conference on Private International Law
- International Labor Organization
- United Nations (partly subscription based)
For more information on treaties please contact us