Arms Trade Treaty talks move to secrecy
Last minute decision by Chair ‘deeply disappointing' -Civil society fears future treaty will be weakened
After years of relentless campaigning to ensure States negotiate a strong global treaty to regulate the arms trade, civil society groups have been denied participation in key discussions. As Member States have started negotiations this week at the UN Headquarters in New York, Chair Ambassador Roberto Garcia Moritan of Argentina, announced late on Wednesday (July 14) that civil society groups would no longer be allowed to be present during crucial discussions.
Ambassador Moritan is chairing the preparatory talks that are running until next week. The decision to close the meeting came as a surprise as numerous Member States had made earlier statements on the importance of openness and transparency in the process.
"Some States want to hide behind closed doors because they don't want people to see how much they are prepared to protect trading interests at the expense of protecting the people that bear the brunt of illicit arms deals. This is a major let down during the first week of negotiations," said Denis Mizne, Director at Sou da Paz in Brazil.
Mizne continued: "As soon as the negotiations turned to the content of the treaty, the doors have been slammed shut. This is giving in to demands from some states that want to strip the treaty of key provisions such as those on human rights and international humanitarian law."
Civil society has initiated this process along with key governments and has been a constant voice to ensure that key provisions on development, human rights and international humanitarian law will be part of a future deal. Civil society groups are now urging Ambassador Moritan to reconsider and let them join a more transparent process.
"This is very disappointing and worrying. Without the experience and expertise of civil society, it will make it harder to get a strong treaty that reduces suffering and saves lives. This is pandering to a small number of states that want to undermine the treaty," said Anna MacDonald, Head of the Control Arms Campaign at Oxfam.
Civil society has been part of previous international negotiations such as for the Convention of Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD) and during global climate change negotiations.
"Hundreds of civil society organisations around the world have been advocating to ensure that a future arms trade treaty would be truly effective in preventing the transfer of arms that fuel conflict, human rights abuses, corruption, crime, gender-based violence, terrorism and poverty." said Helena Koumi, Programme Officer at Swefor.
Negotiations have finally started four years after the UN General Assembly decided by an overwhelming majority to negotiate an Arms Trade Treaty. The future treaty would establish international rules and standards to better regulate the arms trade and close current loopholes. The final negotiating conference is set to take place in 2012.
Notes to Editors
Photos available - http://twitpic.com/25k9vc
Louis Belanger +1 917 224 0834 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo of the wk: Young Ahmed holds the keys to 1 of 48 new wash blocks, Zaatari camp #Jordan http://t.co/qOs5BOPh63 #Syria #refugees22 hours 27 min ago
1000s homeless again, searching for safety as violence erupts again in eastern #DRC http://t.co/C3cLwXNit3 $1bn WorldBank aid pledge23 hours 47 min ago
UN Disaster Risk Reduction Conference: Good, but needs to go further http://t.co/Hm54O1EsXT #GPDRR13 #drr @UNDP @unisdr @odi_development1 day 51 min ago
European #taxhavens are 2/3 of the $150 billion tax loss problem http://t.co/jax7i3jVsd #G8 #taxdodging #transparency1 day 2 hours ago
Thx @Food_Tank! Proud 2b in 40 Orgs Shaking Up the Food System list @IFADnews @millenniuminst @OneAcreFund @ONECampaign @rocunited @FAOnews1 day 4 hours ago
RT @oxfamgb: Good news of £30m extra funding from @DFID_UK for #Syria. Still need more aid from others & big push for a peace. http://t.co/…1 day 4 hours ago
US pushes Europe to amend arms #embargo on Syrian rebels http://t.co/B8KYe8VNQn #SyriaCrisis @StateDept @WilliamJHague @eu_eeas @OxfamEU1 day 5 hours ago
+80,000 ppl have been killed & several million displaced since the #SyriaCrisis began; #EU must extend arms embargo http://t.co/JlpzH9egf71 day 5 hours ago
RT @Katie_Nguyen1: Another arresting headline from @katymigiro 'Chips for sex: Oxfam explores the lives of #Kenya’s hungry millions' http:…1 day 6 hours ago
RT @liviafirth: 1 empowered woman can spark a positive change for her whole community @Oxfam @thecircle_oxfam #SparksthatFly @eco_age1 day 6 hours ago
RT @Karl_Schembri: #Syria children nxt to newly installed water tap outside 1 of 48 new wash blocks by @Oxfam in #Zaatari Camp, #Jordan htt…1 day 7 hours ago
The #ArmsTreaty can create a safer future for millions, but first it needs signatures. Urge the US to sign! http://t.co/4YUsIawus71 day 8 hours ago
#EU foreign ministers must bite the bullet & extend the arms #embargo on #Syria http://t.co/rL80yARiSt #SyriaCrisis #ArmsTreaty1 day 15 hours ago
RT @OxfamIreland: Ireland pledges €2.5 million in aid to Mali to contribute to reconstruction http://t.co/wvUzsRsHoD via @IrishTimes #Mal…1 day 22 hours ago
As @UN Disaster Risk Reduction Conference ends, worth checking #GPDRR13 for great tweets from @unisdr @UNOCHA @Federation et al1 day 23 hours ago