Defend International will continue to support an Arms Trade Treaty to prevent and eradicate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. The UN Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on a global Arms Trade Treaty held its first session in New York on 11-15 February 2008. The GGE represents a historical step towards an international instrument to combat the rise in armed violence.
Proposed Arms Trade Treaty in the Hands of GGE Experts
18 February 2008
Oslo-Norway /Defend International/ — Defend International is supporting an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) to prevent and eradicate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.
The UN Group of Governmental Experts on a global ATT held its first session in New York 11-15 February. Chaired by Ambassador Roberto Garcia Moritan of Argentina, the 28 GGE delegates examined the feasibility, scope and parameters of an ATT. The experts will report back to the UN General Assembly in October 2008.
“The GGE represents a historical step towards an international instrument to combat the rise in armed violence,” said DI co-founder Dr. Widad.
NGOs & ATT
The Control Arms campaign, Defend International and other NGOs are campaigning for the establishment of an international Treaty to stop weapons transfers that fuel conflict and poverty, and refuse transfers when there is clear risk that the arms will be used to commit serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.
An international Arms Trade Treaty will open new avenues for global collaboration. There is a need for standards on specific mechanisms to control brokering activities, licensed production and transfers of weapons.
Several countries in Middle East and North Africa played a key role in the push for an Arms Trade Treaty. Algeria and Egypt are members of GGE and has appointed their experts to the UN to push for arms controls.
An analysis of Member States’ views on the ATT was released by the UN Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) to coincide with the meeting. The objective of the study is to allow Member States and experts “to compare the information and proposals contained in these views across themes, countries and regions, as well as through statistical clustering”
On 6 December 2006, as many as 153 states voted in the UN General Assembly to begin work on an Arms Trade Treaty, 24 states abstained and only the USA voted against.
By resolution 61/89, entitled “Towards an arms trade treaty: establishing common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms“, the United Nations General Assembly:
Requested the Secretary-General to seek the views of Member States on the feasibility, scope and draft parameters for a comprehensive, legally binding instrument establishing common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms, and to submit a report on the subject to the General Assembly at its sixty-second session; (operative paragraph 1).
Requested the Secretary-General to establish a group of governmental experts, on the basis of equitable geographical distribution, informed by the report of the Secretary-General submitted to the General Assembly at its sixty-second session, to examine, commencing in 2008, the feasibility, scope and draft parameters for a comprehensive, legally binding instrument establishing common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms, and to transmit the report of the group of experts to the Assembly for consideration at its sixty-third session (operative paragraph 2).
In September 2007 the Secretary General appointed a Group of Governmental Experts from the following 28 countries:
Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Romania, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and United States.
The GGE will examine the feasibility, scope and parameters of an Arms Trade Treaty and report back to the UN General Assembly in October 2008.
The GGE will meet in three sessions in New York, as follows:
First session: 11 – 15 February 2008
Second session: 12 -16 May 2008
Third session: 28 July – 8 August 2008