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International law

International law defines the legal responsibilities of States in their conduct with each other, and their treatment of individuals within State boundaries. Its domain encompasses a wide range of issues of international concern, such as human rights, disarmament, international crime, refugees, migration, problems of nationality, the treatment of prisoners, the use of force, and the conduct of war, among others. It also regulates the global commons, such as the environment and sustainable development, international waters, outer space, global communications and world trade.

Among the greatest achievements of the United Nations is the development of a body of international law, which is central to promoting economic and social development, as well as to advancing international peace and security. The international law is enshrined in conventions, treaties and standards. Many of the treaties brought about by the United Nations form the basis of the law that governs relations among nations. While the work of the UN in this area does not always receive attention, it has a daily impact on the lives of people everywhere. 

The Charter of the United Nations specifically calls on the Organization to help in the settlement of international disputes by peaceful means, including arbitration and judicial settlement (Article 33), and to encourage the progressive development of international law and its codification (Article 13).

Over the years, more than 500 multilateral treaties have been deposited with the UN Secretary-General. Many other treaties are deposited with governments or other entities. The treaties cover a broad range of subject matters such as human rights, disarmament and protection of the environment.