25 October 2013


In May, this bulletin reported on the historic adoption of an arms trade treaty at the UN - the culmination of ten years of lobbying and campaigning by NGOs and concerned global citizens like us. Significant progress has been achieved since then.

At the official signing ceremony at the UN in New York in June 67 states, more than a third of UN member states, signed up to the treaty. Since then there has been a steady increase in the number of states that have signed and ratified the treaty. Currently 114 countries have signed the treaty.

In September Secretary of State John Kerry signed on behalf of the United States, officially making the largest arms exporter part of the global treaty.

Later that month the UN Security Council passed a landmark resolution to tackle the devastating impacts of small arms and light weapons (SALW). The adoption signals a major step forward in international cooperation on arms control and is the first time that the Security Council has ever adopted a resolution on this subject.

Resolution S/RES/2117 brings together a broad range of tools and actions for the UN Security Council to use to prevent the destabilising accumulation, illicit transfer and misuse of small arms and light weapons. These include provisions relating to improving the use of arms embargoes, mandating peace operations to conduct disarmament programs and calling for nations to ensure the strong involvement of women in disarmament activities.

The resolution references the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in its preamble and as an operative paragraph where it urges States to consider signing and ratifying the Treaty as soon as possible. Australia (which recently became a non-permanent member of the Security Council) played a leading role in promoting the resolution, which was adopted by a vote of 14 in favour, with Russia abstaining.

The Control Arms coalition  will continue campaigning for all countries to ratify the treaty (the treaty will enter info force 90 days after it has been ratified by the 50th State) and to then to ensure states implement of its provisions.

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