Thursday 28th October 2021
International organisations such as the United Nations (UN), World Health Organisation (WHO), North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), World Trade Federation (WTF), and World Bank (WB) are all organisations that we hear a lot about, but how many of us actually understand what they do, and how much power do they have over our governments and lives?
Researching this subject led me to something that quite surprised me. There are two terms used commonly: “breaking International Law” and “breaking a Convention”. Both are used to criticise or condemn a people or a country.
Both are basically meaningless. Here is why.
- International Law does not apply to individuals, only to countries. An individual cannot bring a case against any person or country for breaking International Law. It is only enforceable by one country against another. The cases are brought before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the parties have to be Member States of the UN (certain other countries have also accepted the jurisdiction of the court). Therefore, it has little effect on our day to day lives. We cannot bring a case in the IC no matter how much we consider our rights have been abused, or International Law has been broken.
- Under international conventions such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) , the Hague Convention or others, we can initiate cases, but only in our own national courts and only if our country has ratified it and signed the relevant sections into national law.
Not all countries ratify all Conventions.
I was told in person by an official working in the London Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that the reason the Kingdom did not sign the Hague Convention was “because it did not want to take refugees or immigrants from any country. We don’t want to end up like Lebanon, destabilised by Palestinian refugees staying for years”.
The public is not aware that we do not have to fully ratify every section of a Convention. We can cherry pick what enters our national law and what sections of international agreements we are bound by.
So now we have to look again at our laws and international agreements due to Brexit. Why can’t we, as the British public, have a discussion and a voice regarding which International Agreements and Conventions serve us best going forward?
It appears that government lawyers and civil servants copy and paste Agreements and Conventions into our law, and MPs just rubber stamp them. Now the people should press for them to actually earn their wages and work for a living. We should tell the British people (minus the legalese) what these agreements mean to us, and tell our MPs whether we agree to them being ratified.
In other words, make MPs vote how the public wants, not how it best serves them in the revolving door of NGO posts and business Directorships.
International Affairs Spokesperson