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News, 7/3/2012

Ministers call for a universal and legally binding Arms Trade Treaty to end the illicit flow of arms

The co-authors of the UN General Assembly Resolution on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) call for a universal, robust, legally binding and verifiable treaty that will help to put an end to the illicit and irresponsible transfer of arms around the world.

The UN Diplomatic Conference on the ATT, meeting in New York 2-27 July 2012, seeks to negotiate the highest possible common international standards for the import, export and transfer of the complete range of conventional weapons and their technology.

On the first day of discussions in a ministerial meeting hosted by Finland the co-author countries of Argentina, Australia, Costa Rica, Finland, Japan, Kenya and the United Kingdomstressed the importance of this historical opportunity to achieve a wide-ranging treaty that could effectively address the illegal flow of arms throughout the world.

The countries together co-authored resolutions approved by the UN General Assembly in 2006 and 2009 that established the negotiating framework for UN Member States to achieve an Arms Trade Treaty.

The ministers and their high-level representatives said their delegations would work hard to ensure that an effective Arms Trade Treaty, universally accepted by all UN Member States, would be concluded by the end of July. They urged all delegations to work in a spirit of compromise in order to make the Diplomatic Conference a success. 

The co-authors expressed their full support to Ambassador Roberto García Moritán (Argentina), who has been designated to chair the Conference. Ambassador García Moritán has chaired the various phases of the preparatory work since 2008. 

In order to ensure effective regulation of the complete range of conventional weapons, the co-authors will advocate for a wide scope of arms to be included in the treaty. Ministers said small arms and light weapons should be part of the treaty's scope as well as ammunition.

Every day, countless individuals, especially citizens of developing countries, suffer from the proliferation and misuse of illicitly traded conventional weapons. Many are killed, wounded, forced to flee from their homes or live under constant threat of harm, especially in many African countries.

“We see in many parts of the world, conflicts where small arms and light arms which may have been originally legally transferred have fallen into the hands of criminal groups who use them indiscriminately," Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland, Erkki Tuomioja said.

In addition to the unimaginable human cost, the proliferation of weapons seriously undermines our common efforts to eradicate poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goals. The unregulated global arms trade to a great extent fuels conflicts, human rights abuses and poverty.

The co-authors stressed that the treaty must, therefore, include binding provisions on international human rights law and international humanitarian law as its criteria.

This document

Updated 7/6/2012

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