Treaties and legal division
The legal division at the Foreign Relations department is responsible for all treaty and international legal related matters. It has an advisory and coordinating role and promotes the understanding of international agreements Sint Maarten is party to or will become party to.
Sint Maarten is party to many treaties. The Netherlands Antilles treaties (about 1500) still apply to Sint Maarten after the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles in 2010. A treaty, by definition is an international agreement between States, in written form and governed by international law. A treaty is signed by the Kingdom of the Netherlands but can apply to either all the parts of the Kingdom (Aruba, Curacao, the Netherlands, Caribbean Netherlands and St. Maarten) or the countries separately. Each individual part of the Kingdom can decide if the treaty should be effective for them or not. Sint Maarten can also negotiate its own treaties that fall under its autonomous scope of authority. Treaties that fall under article 3 of the Charter of the Kingdom of the Netherlands are to be considered Kingdom related matters.
Human Rights Treaties and reporting obligations
Sint Maarten is bound by various human rights treaties. Examples are; 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 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
For most of these treaties the country has a reporting obligation which means that on a periodic basis the government is required to indicate how far it is with respect to the implementation of all legal, administrative, policy and all necessary measures required to comply with the human rights treaties and to keep developing human rights standards in the country. Human Rights Platform, approved by the council of Ministers, was established to prepare, write and coordinate all Sint Maarten reports. Sint Maarten is required to submit a report that form part of the a wider Kingdom report which is submitted to the submitted to the United Nations Human Rights supervisory committees.
Treaties to which the Kingdom of the Netherlands is or will be party to are officially published in the “Tractatenblad” (Official Treaties Gazette). This Gazette contains treaty texts and other information pertaining to a particular treaty. A treaty that is in force for the Kingdom of the Netherlands will always have a treaty number. For example the Convention on the Rights of the Child treaty number is Trb.1990,46.
The Treaty Database (Verdragenbank) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, available in Dutch and English, contains all information about treaties. For the Dutch website please follow this link www.minbuza.nl/verdragen and for the English website please follow this link www.minbuza.nl/treaties
Other helpful links about treaties and Human Rights reports
International Organizations and other countries also publish treaty information on the internet.
See the links below:
- Council of Europe ~ http://www.conventions.coe.int/
- European Union ~ http://europa.eu/about-eu/basic-information/decision-making/treaties/index_en.htm
- Hague Conference on Private International Law ~ http://www.hcch.net/index_en.php?act=conventions.listing
- International Labor Organization ~ http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=1000:12000:0::NO:::
- United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights ~ http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/Pages/TreatyBodies.aspx