Wilpf's Ex-President and Present UN Adviser, Edith Ballantyne Says:
"The UN Charter is the most important international document - a constitution, or even a treaty in a way, because it binds those nations that sign it to commit to work together for the aims and principles set out in its preamble. The rest sets out its organs and methods of functioning, providing for the further development of mechanisms as they are needed. It is within the framework of the Charter – to further the agreed aims and principles - that specialized agencies have been established to advance the global social, economic and cultural aspects, and mechanisms to deal with the maintenance of peace, disarmament, human rights, and establish norms in terms of declarations, conventions and treaties, that are forming a body of international law. The Charter is the spine of an intricate international body (the world community) that needs to be kept strong and upright so that all the other organs can function together in harmony. We need to respect the whole body and keep every part functioning, because each is needed and is important. But without a healthy spine, nothing will function.As to treaties: Yes, of course they are important. They are steps toward the realization of the Charter’s aims and principles. However, only when a UN member state ratifies a treaty will the state become accountable to the UN to implement nationally the norms set out in the international instrument. States can make reservations concerning parts of a treaty (that is, not accept specific provisions in a treaty). The monitoring machinery of this implementation is important, but oh so slow and happens only when a state is finally ready to implement for its own good reasons. There is no enforcement machinery and there should not be as far as I am concerned.As for the ATT, yes, it is a step, but in arms control not disarmament.
Disarmament in the UN had its peak in 1978 when the first special session of the UN General Assembly devoted to disarmament issued a Final Document (S-10/2). It should be read by those working for peace and disarmament. Disarmament efforts in the UN have gone downhill ever since and no one is talking about disarmament. It is arms control except concerning nuclear weapons. There is, and has been for a very long time, advocacy to ban nuclear weapons. But so far nothing has moved in that direction.
The real point is, in my view, that all nations have to grow up and realize that for any of us to survive, they have to work together and make decisions in humanity’s common interest and not in their national interests. Actually, nations do not even act in the national (all their citizens’) interests but in the interests of the few powerful. "