According to this survey of international treaties, the United States has not agreed to many of the most important international treaties.

International Treaties

RRatified (full agreement from country’s legistlature)
SSigned (only consent from country’s heade of state, non-binding)
NNeither ratified, nor signed
WSignature and/or ratification withdrawn
Anti-Ballistic Missile TreatyW
Anti-Personnel Land Mine TreatyRRRRRRRRRRRN
Basel ConventionRRRRRRRRRRRN
Chemical Weapons ConventionRRRRRRRRRRRR
Comprehensive Test Ban TreatyRRRRRRRRRRRS
Convention on Abolition of Forced Labour (ILO C 105)RRRRRRNRRRRR
Convention on Bacteriological and Toxin WeaponsRRRRRRRRRRRS
Convention on Cluster MunitionsRRRRRRRRRRRR
Convention on Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) (ILO C111)RRRRRRNRRRRN
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against WomenRRRRRRRRRRRS
Convention on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour (ILO C182)RRRRRRRRRRRR
Convention on Equal Remuneration ((ILO C100)RRRRRRRRRRRN
Convention on Forced Labour (ILO C29)RRRRRRRRRRRN
Convention on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize (ILO C87)RRRRRRRRRRRN
Convention on Minimum Age (ILO C138)NRRRRRRRRRRN
Convention on the Rights of the ChildRRRRRRRRRRRS
Convention on the Rights of Persons with DisabilitiesRRRRRRRRRRRS
Convention on the Right to Organize & Collective Bargaining (ILO C 98)RRRRRRRRRRRN
International Covenant on Economic, Social & Cultural RightsRRRRRRRRRRRS
International Criminal CourtRRRRRRRRRRRN
Minamata Convention on MercurySRRRRSRRRRRR
Nuclear Non-Proliferation TreatyRRRRRRRRRRRR
United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS)RRRRRRRRRRRN
Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty treaty between the Soviet Union and United States in 1972 created to limit anti-ballistic missiles. The United States withdrew from the treaty in 2002.
Anti-Personnel Land Mine Treaty“The Ottawa Convention” seeks to eliminate the use of land mines. Adopted in 1997, 164 states are party to the treaty as of 2018.
Arms Trade Treaty
Limits illicit arms trade of everything from tanks and helicopters to small and light arms from being dealt to nation states involved in human rights violations. The treaty was passed in the UN April 2, 2013.
Basel Convention is to protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects of hazardous wastes including household waste and incinerator ash. Plastic Waste amendments effective as of January 1, 2021.
Chemical Weapons Convention independently by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the 1992 treaty has reduced the world’s stock of chemical weapons by with the participation of 193 countries.
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty CTBT has been ratified by 168 countries. This effort is to ban all nuclear explosion tests for any reason. The treaty does not go into effect until after 44 prescribed countries ratify it. 8 of 44 of these countries (including the U.S.) have yet to ratify it.
Convention on Abolition of Forced Labour (ILO C 105) Labor Organization (ILO) effort to completely eradicate slavery and forced labor was drafted in 1957. The U.S. has only signed two of the eight ILO treaties considered fundamental for the preservation of human rights. This is one of them.
Convention on Bacteriological and Toxin Weapons BWC went into force in 1975. As of 2018, 182 countries are committed to banning bacteriological weapons. This represents the first multilateral treaty to disarm a category of weaponry.
Convention on Cluster Munitions recent treaty (entered force August 2010) seeks to eliminate the use of cluster munitions, bombs which carry smaller bomblets in order to disperse harmful material such as land mines or chemicals. 120 states have committed, 106 of which are state-parties.
Convention on Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) (ILO C111) 111 (1958) is an effort to increase opportunity and fair treatment for employees by terminating discrimination of all kinds.
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women into effect in 1981, CEDAW is integral in providing a foundation to the women’s rights movement as a human rights issue. CEDAW has prioritized empowering women to vote and a woman’s right to run for elected positions.
Convention on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour (ILO C182) fairly recent treaty (1999), this convention focuses on child labor issues such as children’s role in the services of slavery, trafficking, or pornography. C182 is the second of the two treaties the ILO considers fundamental to human rights.
Convention on Equal Remuneration ((ILO C100) strives  to make even the compensation for a particular job regardless of sex. Since it was adopted in 1951, 173 countries have ratified it as of 2018.
Convention on Forced Labour (ILO C29) urges for the immediate elimination of all compulsory labor, save for exceptions specified within the treaty. The 1930 conventions has had 178 ratifications.
Convention on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize (ILO C87) is concerned with the rights of employees to associate themselves in organizations that promote employee rights. Since 1948, 155 countries have ratified the convention.
Convention on Minimum Age (ILO C138) (1976) is a treaty complimentary to the other ILO agreements to help eliminate child labor. It urges countries to progressively raise the age required to enter employment.
Convention on the Rights of the Child
Promotes protection from harmful influences, abuse and exploitation; participation in family, cultural and social life; non-discrimination; devotion to the best interests of the child; right to life, survival and development; and respect for the views of the child.
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to guarantee people with a broad range of disabilities share the same basic human rights as everyone else. It was negotiated in five years (open to signatures in 2007), making it the fastest developed human rights treaty.
Convention on the Right to Organize & Collective Bargaining (ILO C 98) C87, C98 promotes employee organization while fighting anti-union discrimination. C98 was adopted in 1949.
International Covenant on Economic, Social & Cultural Rights preamble to this 1966 treaty appends civil and political rights to the rights in the title. The treaty represents a fight against the exploitation of cultures or regions and an attempt to reinforce the recognition of their rights. 169 countries have ratified it.
International Criminal Court Rome Statute of the ICC is the statute associated with the adoption of the ICC and was drafted in 1998. As it’s preamble claims, the ICC shall be “complimentary” to each country’s national jurisdictions, yet uphold international values as an international community.
Kyoto Protocol Kyoto Protocol is a commitment to decrease greenhouse gases in 37 industrialized nation by an average target of 5%. The 1997 agreement places the most responsibility on industrialized nations for having contributed the most to the climate crisis. 192 countries have ratified it.
Minamata Convention on Mercury after the Japanese city that befell victim to several decades of mercury pollution to illegal dumping of chemical waste. 128 countries have signed the treaty to limit mercury polution, while 110 countries have ratified it.
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty NPT allows for peaceful use of the development of nuclear energy, yet vehemently urges the disarmament of nuclear weapons and development of nuclear war technology. 191 parties have ratified the NPT, more than for any other disarmament treaty.
United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982, UNCLOS agreed to a treaty that would establish country’s rights concerning the use and protection of the world’s oceans. The 1982 treaty went into effect in 1994. 168 countries total have ratified it.


Thirty years ago, on June 27, 1989, the International Labor Organization (ILO) adopted Convention No. 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, to facilitate the development of dialogue between a country’s government and the Indigenous Peoples who live in that country. Its central aim is to protect the human rights of Indigenous Peoples and acknowledge “the aspirations of these peoples to exercise control over their own institutions, ways of life and economic development and to maintain and develop their identities, languages and religions, within the framework of the States in which they live.”
Chris Swartz
June 5, 2019.