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April 15, 2010

ABA International Mobilizes Global Legal Issues Through Meeting with UN Representatives

Glenn Hendrix, Chair, Section of International Law

Glenn Hendrix, Chair, Section of International Law

On April 12, members of the _ met with United Nations’ officials as part of the annual ABA Day at the U.N.

For more than 15 years, ABA members have been meeting with U.N. officials to discuss how association members can assist in mobilizing various initiatives through reports, projects and policy endorsements of U.N. treaties. Additionally the ABA uses these meetings to recommend that the U.N. reform policies and/or procedures on various international legal issues.

Much of this year’s discussions centered on issues involving relief to Haiti and ways the ABA can work with the Haitian Bar Association in the future.  The U.N. Development Programme also reconfirmed its commitment to its long-term partnership with the ABA, supporting the International Legal Resource Center, a technical legal resource provider that celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.

Following the day of meetings, ABA delegates met during a reception to discuss how to move forward with the lessons learned during the day. The group reflected on the progress the ABA has had in both building a bridge of communication and advocating for U.S. participation and engagement in the International Criminal Court activities. In addition, members discussed how the ABA could move forward on this initiative through participating in the upcoming International Criminal Court’s Assembly of States Parties that will be held in Kampala, Uganda, at the end of May.

“Discussions stemming from ABA Day at the U.N. have been beneficial in giving the section advance insight on U.N. initiatives, allowing the ABA to take more effective actions and deliverables to mobilize key international legal issues,” stated Glenn Hendrix, chair of the Section of International Law.

Since 1975, nearly 90 resolutions have been adopted by the ABA related to the work of the U.N. In addition, many section projects have originated from these conversations in the past, including ones seeking to improve the efficacy of the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Dennis Archer, former President of the ABA

Dennis Archer, former President of the ABA

This year, one specific area of discussion focused on how to garner greater support for adoption of an ABA policy recommendation urging the United States to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. ABA International brought the recommendation to the association’s Midyear Meeting in February, but it was not adopted.  The section intends to resubmit the recommendation this summer at the ABA’s Annual Meeting.

_ involvement with the U.N. began in 1943 when Reginald Herber Smith, an influential ABA leader, arranged a series of conferences of leading lawyers and international law professors throughout the United States. These conferences resulted in the publication of a report titled International Law of the Future, (Volume 69 of “Reports of the _,” 1944). The report contained many provisions that would later be adopted as part of the U.N. charter.

To learn more about international legal policy, projects and outreach with which ABA International is involved, please visit: http://www.abanet.org/intlaw/intlproj/home.html.