The Final Countdown

A historic opportunity to deliver an arms trade treaty that saves lives

Published: 29 June 2012
Author: 
Deepayan Basu Ray, Oxfam GB, Policy Advisor, Arms and Development

The arms trade is out of control. The irresponsible trade in arms devastates lives and livelihoods and the world can no longer continue turning a blind eye.

In July 2012, governments have a historic opportunity to create a strong Arms Trade Treaty that builds a more secure future for all the world’s citizens. The Arms Trade Treaty must have clear, unambiguous language that covers all conventional arms, ammunition, parts and components. It must include robust and legally binding criteria that prevent arms being transferred where there is a substantial risk that they will be used in violation of international human rights or humanitarian law, or will undermine development. The Arms Trade Treaty must have strong measures for transparency and accountability, and an effective implementation and enforcement mechanism.

Strong treaties gain new members and set international standards; treaties that start out weak rarely get stronger. Governments must not compromise during the final countdown for the sake of securing universal agreement. Under no circumstances should countries agree to a watered down Treaty that fails to control the arms trade and fails to reduce human suffering. Decades from now, those looking back at July 2012 should be able to judge the Arms Trade Treaty as a defining moment for global peace, development and security.

Key recommendations from the report:

A strong Treaty must include:

  • A set of strong criteria that will stop the transfer of arms to those who abuse human rights, violate humanitarian law, or seek to undermine development;
  • A thorough risk assessment process to determine when transfers are likely to have serious negative repercussions;
  • All conventional arms and ammunition, as well as all parts and components, in its scope, so that there are no loopholes;
  • Effective mechanisms to help countries that will need assistance to comply with Treaty requirements;
  • Clear and unambiguous requirements on countries to comply, including obligations to systematically report on all their arms transactions.

 

Related links

Act now: Support a bullet-proof Arms Trade Treaty

Follow the negotiations: Arms Trade Treaty monitor

Track States' positions on key issues concerning the Arms Trade Treaty: armstreaty.org

Other Arms Trade Treaty reports

The Devil is in the Detail: The importance of comprehensive and legally binding criteria for arms transfers

Armed Robbery: How the poorly regulated arms trade is paralyzing development

Stop a Bullet, Stop a War: Why ammunition must be included in the Arms Trade Treaty

Piecing it all together: Why the Arms Trade Treaty must regulate parts and components for weapons and military equipment

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