Boy stands in front war-scarred building Kuito, Angola. Photo:Andy Hall/Oxfam
The arms trade is out of control

Control Arms: Join the campaign for a global Arms Trade Treaty

Bananas and MP3s are more tightly regulated by international laws than weapons.

There are currently no legally binding, international rules regulating the arms trade.

National arms controls are rife with gaps and loopholes, making it all too easy for weapons to end up in the hands of those who use them to fuel conflict, undermine development and abuse human rights and humanitarian law.

This unregulated arms trade has catastrophic results:

  • 2 bullets are made for every person on the planet every year 
  • 2,000 people die each day from armed violence, and hundreds of thousands more are displaced, maimed or lose their livelihood
  • Conflict costs African countries US $18 billion every year

This tragedy must, and can, be stopped.

Making history in 2013

On 2 April 2013, history was made as the Arms Trade Treaty - the first agreement to control global arms sales - received an overwhelming 'yes' vote at the United Nations in New York.

When Oxfam and the Control Arms coalition launched this campaign a decade ago, the Arms Trade Treaty was dismissed by many governments as an idealistic fantasy. But after years of activism and campaigning, this ATT may soon become a reality.

Over one million people signed our Million Faces Petition, which was presented to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in 2006. At the UN General Assembly in December 2006, a huge majority of governments voted to start negotiations on the Arms Trade Treaty and to conclude this process in July 2012. Unfortunately, the adoption of a draft treaty supported by a majority of countries failed in July when the United States, followed by Russia and few other states, demanded more time.

Until the Treaty is signed, sealed and delivered, we won't stop campaigning and will keep demanding a robust arms treaty that will safe lives. Your support is just as crucial as ever to keep the momentum up.

What you can do

Join the Control arms movement and ask the member states of the United Nations to deliver a strong and effective Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) to help save lives, prevent human rights abuses, and protect the livelihoods of people around the world:

  • Sign up to support a bullet-proof Arms Trade Treaty
  • Follow @Controlarms and @Oxfam on Twitter
  • Share the latest blogs on the Arms Trade Treaty
  • Read the latest reports on the Arms Trade Treaty
  • Use the interactive map at to find out what your Government’s position is on key issues concerning the ATT
  • Watch the video “Bang For Your Buck” and see how the easy accessibility of weapons in Burundi is crippling its health services and making difficult for the country to develop and emerge from entrenched conflict



Read more

Blog: A global Arms Trade Treaty: a marathon not a sprint (August 2012)

Blog: What impact would an ATT have on the conflict and food crisis in Mali?

In-depth: Shooting Down the MDGs: How irresponsible arms transfers undermine development goals

For more research and campaign materials from the Control Arms Alliance visit