ATT 1st PrepCom: Day 5: NGO Interventions and Objectives

July 18, 2010 12:02PM by Robert Zuber, Global Action to Prevent War (GAPW)

The early parts of the morning of Day 5 were taken up with NGO presentations, including questions from and discussion with diplomats.

Select NGO presentations have been posted separately. Appreciation was expressed by several states for the NGO session, including Nigeria and the ICRC. In that context, there were several poignant references to the departure of Rebecca Peters as director of IANSA. The Egyptian delegation, especially, seemed genuinely moved by her departure, and the US and others chimed in with sincere tributes.
The remainder of what was a short day for the Prep Com was taken up in what the Chair called ‘objectives.’ As mentioned in previous posts, delegates have had some difficulty separating out the three previous major categories of discussion at the Prep Com – principles, elements and scope. A similar problem occurred with objectives, which seemed at times to blend with the previous discussions.

There are in fact distinctions to be made between these four aspects. While there seem to be no hard and fast rules of separation, it might be useful to consider the following:

  • Principles define the purposes for which this Treaty is being crafted
  • Elements define the tools and structures being used to craft the Treaty
  • Scope defines the domain range of activity, both in terms of specific weapons to be covered and jurisdictions of authority, oversight, etc.
  • Objectives define what the Treaty will allow us to accomplish once it is completed and formally adopted

In this light, the following delegate comments on objectives seemed particularly pertinent.

  • Indonesia raised two points germane to objectives: Enhancing regional stability and increasing the predictability of contracts.
  • India noted that objectives should be clearly outlined in a separate Treaty article. India also noted that the prevention of the diversion of weapons should be reflected in the objectives.
  • Ghana noted that the ATT should prevent weapons-related human rights abuses and violations of international law.
  • Russia reinforced the need for diversion at the center of ATT objectives and also the strengthening of national level controls on domestic arms circulation.
  • The ICRC reiterated that at ATT must protect human health and dignity, and prevent war crimes.
  • Israel noted that an ATT must prohibit any transfer of weapons to terrorists or the territories under their control.
  • Nicaragua asserted that an ATT must eliminate illicit arms trafficking.
  • Egypt asserted that we should look to the UN Charter for approved language on objectives. (Egypt also urged the Chair to provide a revised paper on principles as soon as possible).
  • Ambassador Moritan finally took the floor. His first comment was to complain about the UN’s new headphones! He then affirmed the broad array of opinions expressed, the major ideas shared and remaining points of contention. He noted that he has an idea of the direction of the work remaining to be done and he will use the Friends of the Chair to assist in resolving outstanding issues.
  • He also urged delegates to adopt more practical working methods to properly address the mandate laid out by the GA.
  • The Friends will be convening meetings on Monday and Tuesday in sessions to which NGO access has not yet been determined. Ambassador Moritan will be involved with informal briefings prior to Wednesday’s next general session.

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