The Antarctic Treaty is an act of international law, which regulates the legal status of The Antarctic. As this region has no indigenous population, countries, which conduct activities in the Antarctic have created a system of laws and treaties to protect environment, ensure freedom of scientific research and forbidding militarization of the area. The Antarctic is a neutral territory under shared management of signatories of the treaty.
The Antarctic Treaty entered into force 12 June 1961, signed by countries, which had scientific interests on the continent at the time: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zeland, Norway, South Africa, the Soviet Union, the UK and the USA. Currently 53 countries are parties to the treaty, and several additional documents were added to it, to regulate e.g. wildlife protection rules or practice of scientific station management.