A tank is a tank, irrespective of the size of its gun…

March 1 2011, 2:40 PM  by Oistein Thorsen

What should the scope of an effective Arms Trade Treaty be?

by Oliver Sprague, Amnesty International, UK @ollysprague

If your starting point to prevent the use of conventional weapons to commit or facilitate serious crimes against people, then its self evident that it is necessary to capture everything that is used in such abuse and also to encompass all the ways that weapons are transferred across the globe.

Technically this is known and the scope of the Arms Trade Treaty, which covers both the equipment it will cover and types of transactions it will regulate. Amnesty International and Caritas, in a meeting hosted by the French government, explored these issues today (March 1st) at the United Nations.

The meeting highlighted serious gaps and loopholes in what is currently being proposed, leaving out large groups of potentially lethal equipment and their parts and components; for example police and internal security equipment, certain types of military vehicles and aircraft and new and emerging weapons technology.

There are also serious problems with narrow definitions leaving many transactions and services that facilitate international arms transfers such as the provisions of transport, brokering, finance and technology and assistance. For the ATT to be effective, it must cover all types of military, police and security equipment and regulate all the ways and it means that these weapons reach the hands of those that use them to kill, injure or terrorise people across the world every minute of every day.

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