Summary of #Armstreaty Discussions at #UNGA last week
In stark contrast to supporters of an expansive humanitarian instrument, the US delegation indicated that the United States does not view the ATT as a disarmament or arms control treaty, but rather, a trade treaty regulating a legitimate industry. Furthermore, the US delegation noted that national implementation of such a treaty should not be subject to international regulation, a view also reiterated by India. The US delegation explained such decisions are strictly a national prerogative, although a legal requirement of all member states to regulate transfers at the national level is appropriate and welcome. Other delegations emphasized state sovereignty issues, including Pakistan and Eritrea, whose delegations both referenced the oft-noted UN Charter article 51 right of self-defense. The Non-Aligned Movement called for a “step-by-step” process that is transparent and non-discriminatory.
Detailed discussions of elements of the future ATT were limited, with a focus instead on the negotiating process as a whole. Nonetheless, the delegations of Liechtenstein, Senegal, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Jamaica, and CARICOM expressed support for the 7+1+1 formula for the scope of the treaty, which includes SALWs and ammunition in addition to the seven categories in the UN Register. Likewise, thePhilippines’ delegation also expressed support for a scope that includes the seven categories and SALWs, while also encouraging an ATT provision that prevents arms transfers to those states under UN Security Council embargoes. Iran called for the entry-into-force of the ATT to be conditional on the ratification of ten major producer states.
As Australia noted, there is near universal recognition for the need to better regulate the arms trade. Despite conflicting objectives and perspectives, the intensity with which delegations have expressed their views on the ATT is indicative of what will be a rich negotiating process next year. Many states made it clear that they hope everyone will continue to commit to an ATT process that takes into account the many elements included in the Chair’s latest draft paper in a broad international security context. Although all the elements presented in the paper will likely not be included in the final text due to the consensus provision, it is widely hoped that delegations will be as comprehensive as possible, especially regarding the dangers of diversion and the need for sufficient implementation capacity. As Slovenia’s delegation noted, an ATT that demands evaluation of diversion risk in light of human rights, in addition to proper transparency and reporting requirements, is possible. It’s time to clearly define the arms trade and close legal loopholes that allow illicit trade to continue.