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Your guide to UN and UN documents and reports

Conventions and declarations

Striving to uphold the principles set forth in the Charter, the United Nations has adopted numerous declarations and resolutions.

Principles of the United Nations

The aim of the United Nations is to achieve the objectives stated in the Charter. Among these we find

  • peace and security
  • social and economic development
  • respect for human rights
  • international law.

To approach these goals, the UN has adopted a number of declarations and resolutions.

Article 102 of the UN Charter states that all treaties entered into force by member states of the United Nations are registered and published by the UN Secretariat.


Declarations are not legally binding but carry considerable moral force and serve as a clear indication of the commitments of the international community. Declarations often originate from resolutions adopted by the General Assemby. Some declarations later become conventions.


Conventions are binding formal agreements. When a convention is ratified in sufficient numbers, it enters into force and becomes legally binding on the states that have ratified and signed it.

  • To sign indicates the preparations for ratification.
  • To ratify confirms an agreement to be legally bound by the convention, with legislative changes taking place within a member state to adhere to the agreement at the domestic level. The process between signing and ratification may take several years.
  • To accede means that a state accepts to become a party to a convention already negotiated and signed by other states.

More UN, conventions and declarations

Human rights, conventions and declarations


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