Law International Law


International treaties have a significant impact on the world. It has the potential to formulate or mitigate systemic oppression of one group of people by other groups throughout the world. Before digging into the impact of international treaties on one's life, it's essential to understand what exactly an international treaty is? An international treaty is a formal written agreement mutually agreed by international law parties, usually sovereign states and international organizations. Treaties are also known as conventions, covenants, pacts, etc. Treaties can be approximately compared to contracts, as the parties agree to take wilful obligations upon them. Treaties vary substantially in different matters and may govern several subjects such as trade and commerce, political alliance, health and nutrition, human rights, civil and political rights, territorial boundaries, etc.

Treaties can impact one's life in a way when the state where that individual lives make legalization in accordance with the international convention. It can be anything from the betterment of malnourished to enfranchisement to a sect that was deprived of generations. If one intends to understand the impact of international treaties on his life, he needs to understand doctrine which establishes cooperation among different nations, laws, and statutes which promote international unity, case laws and conventions which had a remarkable impact on subjects of different nations who were signatory to that convention.

Principles and Statutes

The comity of nations' comity: The comity of nations is a doctrine that establishes a relationship between nations in the sense of unification of laws or jurisprudential principles from which legislations are enacted. The doctrine can also be defined as the principle that one sovereign state wilfully adopts or enforces another sovereign state's laws out of mutuality, reverence, and universalizing the law.

Articles in the Indian Constitution.

Traces of the comity of nations can be found in Articles 253 and 51 of the Indian Constitution. Article 253 states that "Legislation for giving effect to international agreements Notwithstanding anything in the foregoing provisions of this Chapter, Parliament has power to make any law for the whole or any part of the territory of India for implementing any treaty, agreement or convention with any other country or countries or any decision made at any international conference, association or other body" Which explains that parliament is empowered to make any law for the whole territory of India to implement any treaty or convention at any international conference or association to which India is a signatory.

Article 51 states that "The State shall endeavour to

(a) promote international peace and security;

(b) maintain just and honourable relations between nations;

(c) foster respect for international law and treaty obligations in the dealings of organized peoples with one another; and encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration."

This explicates that the state shall promote international peace, security, and harmony by showing deference to international law by implementing international treaties and conventions and encouraging to resolve international disputes by arbitration. One can infer from both the statutes that the Indian Constitution promotes the universality of law and cooperation between nations. In the case of Jolly George Varghese v. Bank of Cochin (1980) 2, SCC 360 Supreme Court emphasized that India is a signatory to the International Covenant and Article 51(c) of the Constitution also obligates the State to foster respect for international law and treaty obligations in the dealings of organized peoples with one another. Thus, reinforcing the doctrine of comity of nations.


As mentioned earlier, international treaties vary substantially from various subjects from human rights, civil and political rights to political alliance and health & nutrition. The following conventions had a remarkable effect around the globe in enfranchising the deprived sects and assuage discrimination and torture.

1) The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) 1966

2) The Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) 1979

3) The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) 1984

1) The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) 1966.

It is also known as the Covenant and the companion International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. This covenant was adopted to legalize states' duty to respect the rights recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 each party to the covenant undertook and ensured to protect the rights of individuals within its territory, subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the covenant. The covenant covers a spectrum of rights which include, the rights to life, the right to equal protection of the law, the right to freedom of religion, association, and expression, the right to marry, and the rights to be free from torture, slavery, servitude, arbitrary arrest, and unfair criminal proceedings along with other crucial rights. This covenant directly affects one's life who is a citizen of the country signatory to the convention as his country is bound to follow this law, and ultimately, he is one who enjoys individual freedom.

2) The Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) 1979.

The CEDAW commands the parties to eliminate discrimination against women in the political, social, economic, and cultural spheres. The CEDAW reinforces the proposition that human rights matter is of international concern, and no state can defy it as unlawful interference in internal affairs. Thus, imposing legal obligations upon party states. This covenant ensures eliminating discrimination against women by imposing legal responsibility upon states party to the covenant.

3) The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) 1984

This convention deals with human rights violations involving the infliction of torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. It is enacted to address human rights violations specifically. Parties to this covenant do not merely undertake obligations not to inflict torture but ensure to criminalize the acts of torture, preventing the practice, investigate complaints of torture and provide redress for such acts perpetrated by authority or public officials. The CAT enables the establishment of a Committee Against Torture. The Committee is responsible for reviewing reports of torture and investigating when there's reliable information containing substantial indications that torture is systematically practised. This convention ensures that no human is subjected to inhuman treatment or callous torture. One who lives in the state's jurisdiction, which is a signatory to this convention is the beneficiary of this covenant and has a legal right to be protected from systematic torture.


All the aforesaid covenants including, The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) 1966, The Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) 1979, and The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) 1984 are conventions mutually agreed by the countries party to them to protect the individual interest of its citizens and to create global peace and security. There are many other conventions on multiple subjects made to protect world citizens' rights and interests, which is the ultimate goal of the United Nations, which is to establish world peace and cooperation among countries. These conventions are responsible for shaping the laws of countries party to them, which affect the individuals who live under the jurisdiction of those respective countries by governing their lives with legal protection internationally sanctioned.

Author: Shweta Singh