Campaigners hailed a huge victory as after more than a decade of campaigning, the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty today becomes international law at last. Oxfam has worked with the Control Arms coalition to make this treaty a reality.
The treaty aims to set the highest standards for controlling the $85 billion international trade of arms and ammunition and to cut the supply of weapons to all dictators and human rights abusers.
The ATT has taken only 18 months from opening for signature to entry-into-force. This is one of the fastest approval processes for any multilateral arms treaty, and shows the weight of political support the world’s nations have invested in the treaty.
“Campaigners around the world have been fighting for this moment for years. This treaty is not just a piece of paper. If robustly implemented, it has the potential to save lives and protect vulnerable civilians,” said Oxfam spokesperson Mariam Kemple Hardy
“The ATT will transform the global arms business. It can help to shine a spot-light on the end-user. It will no longer be acceptable to look the other way when arms are transferred to regimes that will use them to harm innocent people and violate their human rights.”
Under the new rules in the ATT, before any arms transfer takes place, the supplier government must assess associated risks of the deal against strict criteria, including whether the arms might be used for human rights violations or war crimes. If there is a substantial risk of this happening, the deal cannot be authorized by the seller.
The first Conference of States Parties (CSP) of the Treaty is expected to take place during late-August/early-September next year. At these meetings States and civil society will work together to ensure the treaty is properly implemented and that irresponsible arms trades are being stopped.
To date, 129 states have signed the ATT, with 60 having ratified it. These include major arms exporters such as France, the UK and Germany