6 May 2013


For more than ten years NGOs and ordinary citizens, including readers of this bulletin, have lobbied, petitioned and campaigned  in favour of a treaty to regulate the arms trade. For more than six years negotiations have taken place at the international level to bring about such a treaty. At times it seemed as if the initiative was doomed to fail, but last month all of those efforts finally came to fruition.

After the process was blocked by Syria, Iran, and North Korea, the Arms Trade Treaty was moved to the United Nations General Assembly where an overwhelming majority of States voted in favour of adopting an historic agreement that according to Control Arms sends a clear signal to gunrunners and human rights abusers that their time is up.

The Treaty will create binding obligations for governments to assess all arms transfers to ensure that weapons will not be used for human rights abuses, terrorism, transnational organised crime or violations of humanitarian law. It will require governments to refuse any transfers of weapons if there is a risk countries would use them to violate human rights or commit war crimes.

The next step is for States to prioritise signing and ratifying the treaty in order to bring it into force as soon as possible.

Photo shows some of the advocates for the Treaty celebrating following the UN vote. Congratulations to all those who have contributed to making our world a safer place.

With so many articles about growing problems and lack of response, it is nice to come upon this note about something positive having been achieved. It is, I assume, just a first step, but without a first step, the journey ends.
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