Today at the United Nation after years of discussions and debates, the vast majority of governments – 153 in total – agreed a timetable to establish a “strong and robust” Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) with the “highest common standards” to control international transfers of conventional arms.
“This is a tribute to the hard work done by campaigners around the world,” said DI co-founder Dr. Widad. The ATT is expected to significantly reduce the human cost associated with the proliferation of conventional arms.
World Unites To Tackle Global Arms Trade
- Timetable For Arms Trade Treaty Adopted at UN
- Treaty To Be Concluded by July 2012
(New York, 30 October 2009) – Today, after years of discussions and debates, the United Nations agreed a timetable to establish a “strong and robust” Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) with the “highest common standards” to control international transfers of conventional arms.
There is currently no global regulation of the arms trade. In a major reversal of policy, the US – the world’s biggest arms trader – voted in favour of the resolution. Russia and China abstained; Zimbabwe was the only vote against. As a result of the vote, the conference to finalise the Treaty is now scheduled for July 2012.
Today’s agreement means that the ATT will be negotiated in a series of meetings concluding at a UN Conference in 2012.
“This is a tribute to the hard work done by campaigners around the world,” said Dr Widad, co-founder of Defend International. “Now we must build on this breakthrough and make sure a strong and effective treaty is agreed in 2012.”
The resulting treaty is expected to require States to strictly regulate international transfers according to principles based on international law, significantly reducing the human cost associated with the proliferation of conventional arms.
“According to UN reports, there has been a 30% increase in transfer of arms,” said Dr Widad. “Certain conventional arms transfers are of course legitimate and justified, and the proposed legally binding Arms Trade Treaty would just create a regulatory system respectful of national sovereignty, while also providing an international instrument that prevent small arms and light weapons from entering the illicit market.”
The resolution on the ATT recognizes that international arms transfers contribute to armed conflict, displacement of people, organised crime and terrorism, thereby undermining peace, safety, security and sustainable development.
Campaigners expressed reservations about the procedure planned for the UN Conference which could give every State the right of veto. “It is vital that governments keep up the pressure for a strong treaty, and do not allow a minority of states to block the process,” said DI member Mr. Adham Tobail.
153 countries voted in favour of the resolution, 1 voted against. The States that abstained were: Bahrain, Belarus, China, Cuba, Egypt, India, Iran, Kuwait, Libya, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, UAE, Venezuela and Yemen.