The Treaties and Conventions Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs main responsibility is to ensure that all Treaties and Conventions that Vanuatu wishes to sign, accede to or ratify have been provided sufficient national consultation to all the peoples of Vanuatu both nationally and in the communities so that people are aware of the advantages and disadvantages of ratifying a convention but at the same time that they are aware of the obligations under these Conventions which will be binding to Vanuatu on the whole.
Once appropriate national consultations have been completed, a Council of Ministers' Paper (COM) is drafted to get approval of the Council of Ministers which is then tabled in Parliament as a Bill. Once the Bill is approved then appropriate stakeholders will inform the Treaties and Conventions Division (TCD) to prepare the instruments of accession or ratification and send it to our Vanuatu Mission in New York to deposit it at the United Nations being the depository of most of the UN Conventions. As part of this process we also ensure that stakeholders submit their national reports on conventions that require reporting in a timely manner.
Illustrations of this is the Convention on the Rights of the Child or CRC was ratified by Vanuatu some four (4) years ago and still many parents do not fully understand the content of this convention such as all children have a right to education. Similarly the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD) provides that people with disabilities have now the same rights as able people.
The Treaties Division also provides advice on the Foreign Service Act and advise on the implementation for the staff of the Foreign Office as well as advice on the Vanuatu’s mission abroad. We also provide general advocacy and interpretation of Act to those wishing to become Honorary Consuls for our missions abroad.