Global Arms Trade Treaty Picks Up Speed – says Control Arms Coalition

July 15 2011, 2:20 PM by Øistein Thorsen

Momentum builds up as key states, survivors, investors’ group, and industry
give full backing for global Arms Trade Treaty (ATT)

New York: Diplomats at the United Nations’ talks on the future Arms Trade
Treaty have made serious progress this week with a growing number of key
countries bringing their support to the process. The week was also marked
by pro-ATT statements from global investors’ with over US$ 1.2 trillion in
assets, an international group of armed violence survivors and representatives from the arms industry, all calling for a robust and internationally-binding treaty to be agreed in July 2012.

The Control Arms coalition is calling for a bullet-proof treaty that will
prevent irresponsible arms transfers that fuel conflict, poverty and
serious human rights abuses.

Delegates from across the world met in New York for the last 2011
preparatory committee to discuss the details of a future treaty that would
regulate the trade in conventional arms. There is currently no global
agreement regulating the conventional arms and ammunition trade.

A working document highlighting the key elements of a potential Arms Trade
Treaty (ATT) was presented to the delegates on Thursday.

“The ground-work has been laid for a future arms trade treaty. Despite a
number of important gaps in the latest documents and attempts by some to
derail the talks, there was substantial progress,” said Jeff Abramson,
Coordinator of the Control Arms Secretariat. “Diplomats need to go back to capitals, refine their positions and come back in 2012 with a clear
commitment to make the treaty effective. In particular, in order to put a
spotlight on the dark world of arms trade, ensuring that States open their
books on all their arms transfers will be crucial.”

Over 100 civil society representatives from all regions of the world
participated in this week’s meetings as part of the Control Arms coalition.
The Coalition calls on States to deliver a treaty that actually reduces the
harmful impacts of the unregulated arms trade on people.

As a lawyer and survivor of armed violence, Suela Lala of Albania told
delegates: ”We’re committed to making this treaty work. We need states to
commit as well. This Treaty must be more powerful than the force of
weapons. It must be more robust than the pressure of politics and more
beneficial than the incentive of profits.”

The Control Arms coalition welcomed the backing of key countries affected
by armed violence including from Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and
the Pacific region. During the meeting, the five Permanent Member States of
the Security Council (United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France and
China) who collectively account for 88% of the global arms trade, also made
a joint statement committing their collective support to the process. This
is the first such collective statement in the ATT process from the world’s
biggest arms exporters on pdf.