ATT 2nd PrepCom Summaries: February 28, 2011 (AM Session)

March 28 2011, 12:20 AM  by sameerkanal

The following is the first in a series of posts summarizing the statements given at the Second PrepCom for the Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty. This second PrepCom, held February 28-March 4, 2011 in New York, began to see more states speaking in clearer terms. For more information on states’ positions, please visit our “Mapping the Arms Trade Treaty” project at

Monday, 2/28/2011, Morning Session

Nigeria (African Group)
Nigeria, speaking on behalf of the African Group, supported the regional conference model of negotiations prior to the July 2012 negotiations alongside the PrepCom processes. Nigeria also noted that the Chairman’s non-papers were very helpful to African states, and requested that the Chairman continue the drafting of non-papers as the negotiation process progressed.

Egypt signed on to the statements made by Bahrain on behalf of the Arab Group, as well as that of Nigeria on behalf of the African Group. Adding onto this in a national capacity, the Egyptian delegate noted that they want the list of items in the scope of the treaty to only include the items listed in the UN Register of Conventional Arms. Egypt explicitly stated that they oppose the inclusion of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW), as well as Ammunition. Egypt supported only the inclusion of illicit brokering, stating that if the definition was not going to be limited to only the illicit form of brokering, brokering should be removed entirely. Finally, Egypt believed that corruption should be “considered more” before they determine a position on its inclusion.\

United Kingdom
The United Kingdom expressed its belief that the treaty should regulate all conventional arms. Expanding upon this, the UK delegation called for the inclusion of hunting and sporting weapons, as well as military transport and unguided missiles. With regards to regulated activities, the UK advocated for the exclusion of research and development as well as financing. Finally, the United Kingdom urged delegations to expand their definition of brokering to include more possible activities.

Trinidad & Tobago
Trinidad & Tobago began their remarks by noting their full agreement with the comments of CARICOM. Noting that they are not an arms manufacturer, and also are not an arms importer, Trinidad & Tobago reaffirmed that illicit weaponry, most often Small Arms and Light Weapons, were the largest problem faced in the region. Trinidad & Tobago reaffirmed their country’s wish to see the 7+1+1 formula which would include both SALW and Ammunition in the treaty’s scope alongside the seven categories of the UN Register of Conventional Arms.

India supported the 7+1 formula specifically, though they noted the definitions in the Chairman’s non-paper [February 2011 version] were in need of slight revision for their interests to be fully reflected. On the list of activities to be included, India expressed willingness to further explore inclusion of brokering, but was strongly opposed to the inclusion of Research & Development (R&D) and financing in the treaty’s scope.

Indonesia stated that they supported only the 7+1 formula, encompassing the UN Register’s seven categories, as well as Small Arms and Light Weapons. With regards to the parameters in the Chairman’s non-paper [February 2011 version], Indonesia supported prevention of transfers that would violate Security Council resolutions, but did not necessarily support utilizing violation of regional groups’ embargoes as a criterion. Indonesia also expressed apprehension at the inclusion of the target country’s perceived stability or instability as a parameter in the Arms Trade Treaty.

Tanzania congratulated the Chairman on the progress made by the Preparatory Committee thus far, and noted that in addition to their present comments, they associated themselves with Nigeria’s statement on behalf of the African Group. Tanzania noted that the AFrican experience was that human development is harmed by armed conflict. Since African states generally do not manufacture weapons, they import those that they have. In all cases, these are conventional weapons, both those in the Register and SALW, the latter of which Tanzania noted was far more prevalent. Tanzania has argued in the past for the inclusion of SALW in the UN Register, and would also like to see SALW included in the scope of the ATT. Tanzania also endorsed a victim assistance provision. Finally, Tanzania noted that even if SALW was included, “much more weapons” should be included in addition to the UN Register’s categories.

In light of the previous discussion, Norway began their comments with the intention of discussing the goal of the ATT. In Norway’s views, the goal of the treaty should be to “prevent illicit or irresponsible arms trade that causes human suffering or armed violence.” Noting that this guided their view on the scope, Norway advocated for a scope that covered “all conventional weapons,” including ammunition, with perhaps a very limited exceptions list. Norway said that they opposed excluding all sporting and hunting rifles. Norway also thanked the Chairman for including ammunition in his non-paper [February 2011 version] and advocated for removal of any caliber-based definition or exclusion. Norway also noted that they do not support the ATT covering the transfer of countries to their own troops abroad, and that wording should reflect this. Finally, Norway called for the inclusion of explosives in the treaty’s scope.

Japan focused its comments on the inclusion or exclusion of ammunition from the treay’s scope. Japan noted it wants to continue consideration of ammunition before making its opinion final, specifically in terms of the calibres included and excluded. Additionally, Japan noted that an exceptions list remained something they were open to, but were not necessarily in favor of.

Cuba noted that its position was not fully defined on every possible provision of the treaty, but that they had gotten enough information already to determine some things they wished to see changed. Cuba was concerned that research & development, financing, and technical assistance were all included in the treaty’s scope under activities, and opposed the inclusion of all three. Transfers to non-state actors were not explicitly prohibited, in Cuba’s view, and they called for this to be done as well. Cuba stated that they do not mind if the exception for sporting and hunting rifles are revoked as well. Finally, Cuba stated that they may revise their position on scope based on the parameters decided, as they found the two to be closely linked.

The delegation of Brazil desired that the scope of the ATT be defined by the 7+1+1 formula, including the seven categories of the UN Register of Conventional Arms, Small Arms & Light Weapons, and Ammunition for the aforementioned only. They opposed the language expansion within the Chairman’s non-paper [February 2011 version] on the UN Register categories, as well as the inclusion of parts, components and technology. Brazil was flexible on the list of activities, besides export and import, but was explicitly opposed to the inclusion of Research & Development and financing. Brazil opposed the exclusion of antique weapons as well as hunting and sporting weapons, arguing that their inclusion would help make the treaty more compehensive.

Argentina used its remarks to highlight the need for a parameter on international humanitarian law and human rights law, arguing that each should be used as a criterion to evaluate possible transfers. Argentina argued for the definitions of scope used by the EU and Norway in its national remarks, the so-called “yes, unless” approach that would cover all conventional arms. Regarding parts and components, Argentina stated that they wished to see an exhaustive list of which would be included before agreeing to or opposing their inclusion.

China highlighted the importance of the Arms Trade Treaty, calling it an “important issue … to regulate the arms trade.” Noting that in the Chinese opinion, the ATT was neither an arms control nor nonproliferation treaty, China proposed a narrow purpose for the treaty. The Chinese delegation argued that the ATT should not address sustainable development or human rights, and for a narrower scope, stating that the scope suggested by the Chairman in his non-paper [February 2011 version] would make the treaty too difficult to implement. China instead advocated for the UN Register’s categories to be the scope of the treaty, arguing that SALW could be addressed within existing instruments such as the Programme of Action and Tracing Instrument. China also opposed the regulation of activities because they believed that it should be an Arms Trade Treaty, interpreting that name very specifically.

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