[JURIST] Fifty-seven countries have signed [press release] an international treaty in Paris banning governments from holding suspects in secret detention. The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance [draft text] was approved [JURIST report] by the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) [official website] in June and adopted by consensus by the UN General Assembly in December, but it has not been endorsed by the United States and several western European countries, including Germany, Spain, Britain and Italy.
US State Department spokesperson Sean McCormack said that the US helped draft the treaty, but that it "did not meet our expectations" when it came time to sign the document. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour [official profile] said, however, that the US often supports UNHCHR activities without signing the treaties. The treaty will become legally binding once 20 countries ratify it. AP has more.