How hard is it for a country to sign a UN statement?
April 1, 2009 11:38 AM   Subscribe

How much effort does it take for a country to become a signatory to a UN declaration?

In January, South Africa refused to become a signatory to a non-binding UN declaration calling for the decriminalization of homosexuality. SA is a leader in the gay rights movement in Africa, and the SA ambassador to the UN said the country "supported the statement, but was not a signatory to it."

According to this article, another member of SA's UN delegation "said that after 'weighing the priorities' South Africa had decided that to become a signatory would require effort better utilized elsewhere."

So my question is this: How hard is it, really, for a country to sign a non-binding statement? What sort of "effort" is required, and who makes the actual decision?
posted by rebekah to Law & Government (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Depending on their own internal processes, it may be that some portion of the government supports the statement, but they're unable to pass it through the legislature at that time.
posted by Oktober at 12:11 PM on April 1, 2009

I haven't read the document you're asking about but some declarations call for signatory states to take actions that South Africa just may not be capable of right now, whether for lack of resources or whatever.
posted by thewestinggame at 12:15 PM on April 1, 2009

"effort better utilized elsewhere" could just mean political capital. Some people in government are for it, some against it, and those who are for it decide it's not worth the hassle to work on it. That's how I read this.
posted by alms at 6:31 PM on April 1, 2009

Response by poster: @Oktober: do these things have to be passed through a country's legislature before they're signed? It looks like, in the U.S. at least, it's more of an administrative decision.

Also, given that SA wasn't willing to sign, any idea why they would come out with a statement in support of the declaration just a few days later?
posted by rebekah at 7:33 PM on April 1, 2009

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