Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Understanding International Law

What is international law?

International law is the law governing relations between States.

What are the benefits of international law?

Without it, there could be chaos. International law sets up a framework based on States as the principal actors in the international legal system, and it defines their legal responsibilities in their conduct with each other, and, within State boundaries, with their treatment of individuals.

Its domain encompasses human rights, disarmament, international crime, refugees, migration, nationality problems, the treatment of prisoners, the use of force, and the conduct of war, among others. It also regulates the global commons, such as the environment, sustainable development, international waters, outer space, global communications and world trade.

With so much conflict in the world, how can this really work?

International law does work, at times invisibly and yet successfully. World trade and the global economy depend on it, as it regulates the activities required to conduct business across borders, such as financial transactions and transportation of goods.

There are treaties for roads, highways, railroads, civil aviation, bodies of water and access to shipping for States that are landlocked. And as new needs arise, whether to prevent or punish terrorist acts or to regulate e-commerce, new treaties are being developed.

Does international treaty law impinge on a nation’s sovereignty?

To become party to a treaty, a State must express, through a concrete act, its willingness to undertake the legal rights and obligations contained in the treaty – it must “consent to be bound” by the treaty. It can do this in various ways, defined by the terms of the relevant treaty.

How does a state express its “consent to be bound”?

A State can express its consent to be bound by a treaty in several ways, as specifically set out in the final clauses of the relevant treaty. The most common ways are: definitive signature, ratification, acceptance, approval, and accession.

The three terms ratification, acceptance and approval all mean the same thing, particularly when used following “signature subject to….” Member States may use one or another of these terms in their documentation, but in international law they all mean the same thing – that the State has agreed to become a party and thus be bound by the treaty upon its entry into force.

Signing a treaty is one of the most common steps in the process of becoming party to a treaty. However, simply signing a treaty does not usually make a State a party, although in some cases, called definitive signature, it might. A State does not take on any positive legal obligations under the treaty upon signature.

Signing a treaty does, however, indicate the State’s intention to take steps to express its consent to be bound by the treaty at a later date. Signature also creates an obligation on a State, in the period between signature and ratification, acceptance or approval, to refrain in good faith from acts that would defeat the object and purpose of the treaty.

Multilateral treaties contain terms that indicate where the treaty is to be available physically for signing and for what period of time. Multilateral treaties often provide that they will be “open for signature” only until a specified date, after which signature will no longer be possible. Once a treaty is closed for signature, a State generally may become a party to it by means of accession. Some multilateral treaties are open for signature indefinitely.

Most multilateral treaties on human rights issues fall into this category, such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 1979; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966; and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, 1966.

How are treaties enforced?

There is no over-arching compulsory judicial system or coercive penal system to address breaches of the provisions set out in treaties or to settle disputes. That is not to say that there are no tribunals in the international legal system.

For example, the Charter of the United Nations established the International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, as a means by which Member States may settle their disputes peacefully, in accordance with international law. The Court can also give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by duly authorized international organs and agencies.

Member States of the United Nations, in cases to which they are parties, are obliged to abide by the Court’s decisions. However, before a case can go before the Court, a State must have accepted the jurisdiction of the Court, either in general or in relation to a specific case. A State that has not accepted the Court’s jurisdiction cannot be forced to appear before the International Court of Justice.

States may also entrust the settlement of specific disagreements to other international dispute resolution mechanisms established by treaties such as the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the Permanent Court of Arbitration and the dispute settlement bodies of the World Trade Organization, among others.

Different treaties may also create different treaty body regimes to encourage the parties to abide by their obligations and undertake actions required for compliance.

For instance, the Human Rights Committee monitors the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination monitors implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; and the Committee against Torture monitors implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment.

The Security Council can also adopt, under Chapter VII, measures to enforce its decisions regarding threats to international peace and security, breaches of the peace or acts of aggression. Such measures may include sanctions or authorizing the use of force.

Courtesy: United Nations

Monday, August 18, 2014

10 top quotes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi - Aug 15, 2014

NEW DELHI: Addressing the nation from the iconic Red Fort on Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought to invigorate the spirit of the nation with an impassioned appeal to the people to rise above petty issues and move forward as one unified unit.

He also laid out the agenda of the government and its main goals. 

Here are the top 10 quotes from the PM's address. 

1. I can promise you. If you work 12 hours, I will work for 13. If you work 14 hours, I will work for 15 hours. Why? Because I am not a pradhan mantri, but a pradhan sevak. 

2. I am an outsider in
New Delhi. I have stayed away from the elite in this city. In the 2 months I have been here, I now have an insider view. I was astonished. I saw many governments functioning within a government. One department is fighting the other. So, we are trying to break this wall; we want to have one mission and target: Take the nation forward.

3. I come from a poor family and I want the poor to get dignity. We want to start a movement for a clean India. If we have to build a nation, let us start from the villages.

4. Be it caste or communal violence, they stall the growth of the nation. Let us affirm that we will be free from these tensions.

5. Can someone tell me, whatever we are doing, have we asked ourselves if our work has helped the poor or come to benefit the nation in any way? We should come out of the 'Why should I care' attitude and dedicate ourselves to the nation's progress.

6. India used to be known as the land of snake charmers. Today, our IT professionals have left the world spellbound.

7. From ramparts of the Red Fort, I would like to call people of the world to 'come, make in India'. I want to tell the global companies that we have skill, talent and discipline... From electronics to electricals, from chemicals to pharmaceuticals, come, make in India. Paper to plastic, automobiles to agricultural products, come, make in India, from satellite to submarine, come, make in India. We have the capabilities. Come here and manufacture in India. Sell the products anywhere in the world but manufacture here... we have the power, come, I am inviting you.

8. The mantra of our country's youth should be to at least make 1 product that we import. Don't compromise in manufacturing; Stress on Zero defect, Zero effect (impact of environment). Our manufacturing should have zero defects so that our products should not be rejected in the global market. Besides, we should also keep in mind that manufacturing should not have any negative impact on our environment.

9. I want to ask parents, when daughters turn 11 or 14, they keep a tab on their movements. Have these parents ever asked their sons where they have been going, who they have been meeting? Rapists are somebody's sons as well! Parents must take the responsibility to ensure that their sons don't go the wrong direction.

10. India's sex ratio is 1000 boys for 940 girls. Who creates this disparity? It isn't God. Don't fill your coffers by sacrificing the mother's womb. People feel that sons will take care of them when they are old. But I have seen aged parents in old-age homes. I have seen families where one daughter serves parents more than five sons.

My comments…….

I am in total agreement to the points raised by Sri Narendra Modi, and we, Indians, must ensure that the ideals and principles thereof are adhered to for the welfare and progress of the people of India, and India – Prathapan Gopalan – Prathap G., Sharjah, @librahitech

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

NOW is the perfect time

NOW is the perfect time, not tomorrow or day after …..

I'm guilty.

I'm guilty, perhaps like you, for "waiting for the perfect time".

Have you ever waited for the perfect time to tell a family member or friend just how much they mean to you?  Just how much you love and admire them?  Just how awesome they are?

I have.

Days, weeks, and sometimes months go by, all waiting for that perfect moment.  Meanwhile, that person may also be waiting... waiting to receive those encouraging words or to feel that love wrapped around them -- and very likely more than you ever knew.

You never know what someone is going through inside.  Your words and actions can make all the difference...if you deliver them.

But many times, we wait.  We assume they know.  Or we brush it off as unimportant.

And then there's another reality.  We are blessed with only so many days on this earth.  I want the people in my life to know how important they are to me while they're here...when it counts.  So many times we wish we would have expressed more love, support, and encouragement only after it's too late.  Life can be fragile.

I'll call when I'm less busy...

I'll get together with them when things calm down...

I'll make more time for my kids when I'm not so swamped with work...

Excuses.  Justifications.  Many times at the expense of those who love and need us most.

Have you put off starting important projects because the timing wasn't "perfect"?  It's something I've often struggled with.

The things that I know will have the biggest impact sometimes get put on the back burner far too long.

"When my schedule is clear, I'll start that.  That's a big one."

In reality, my schedule is never clear, and yours probably isn't either.  Start the big projects today.  Break out the pen and paper and start writing.  Pull up the Word doc.  Just start.

Have you put off prioritizing your nutrition and your health until "tomorrow" or until "Monday"?  I've been there, too.

Every day, more and more people will begin a diet "tomorrow".  Thousands more will start exercising on "Monday".  Of course, today is bad timing...after all, there's that dinner tonight.  And oh yeah, company coming over tomorrow.  In two weeks, it's vacation...might as well wait until you're back.

You see, the reality is that with how busy we all are, there is never a "perfect time".  In this day and age, schedules are jam packed.  "Swamped" is the norm.

Will you let that consume you, your family, and your health?


Change comes by starting.  Now.  Today.

It will never be the perfect time.  Circumstances will never be ideal.  Just dig your feet in and begin.

Tell that person you love them.  Today.  Carve out 1 minute to send them a warm and loving text message.  Make that phone call.  Schedule time to get together.  There's nothing more important in life than your relationships, and you never know just how badly someone may need the love and support that only you can provide.

You owe it to yourself, and your family.  Don't wait one more day hoping for the ideal set of circumstances or the ideal situation.  It won't come, because unless you lock yourself away in solitude, it doesn't exist. 

You HAVE to start today.  You MUST begin now.  Otherwise, you're only kidding yourself and continuing to let those around you down.

(Thank you, Joel Marion, CISSN Co-Founder, BioTrust Nutrition, for these words of wisdom; I love it, and share it  – Prathap G., Sharjah, U.A.E. @librahitech)