World’s Parliamentarians urge UN to back Arms Trade Treaty

“Without an effective international treaty... human rights will continue to be at the mercy of irresponsible arms traders.”
Ibrahim Toure
Parliament member, Mali
Published: 19 October 2008

Over 2000 MPs from 124 states in urgent call to Control Arms

Tomorrow [Monday 20th October] the United Nations will receive the demands of over 2,000 parliamentarians from 124 countries for urgent progress towards negotiation of an effective international Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) to help save lives and prevent grave human rights abuse and the ongoing destruction of livelihoods.

With over 1,000 people being killed every day by armed violence, the parliamentarians have shown their support for an Arms Trade Treaty by signing a declaration that will be presented to the Chair of the UN General Assembly’s Disarmament and International Security Committee (1st Committee), Ambassador Marco Antonio Suazo Fernández, from Honduras, at a meeting at the UN on Monday.

Later this month the UN will take a crucial vote on whether to take forward plans to develop a treaty that will tighten the global trade in conventional arms, and to specifically consider how to stop transfers of weapons likely to be used for violations of international human rights law, and humanitarian law.

Parliamentarians, Ibrahim Toure from Mali, Ana Theresia Hontiveros-Baraquel from the Philippines and Gagan Thapa from Nepal will hand over the declaration signed by their counterparts from around the world.

Speaking in advance of the handover event, Ibrahim Toure from Mali, one of the first states to back an ATT, said:

“Without an effective international treaty setting high common standards for all forms of international arms transfers covering all conventional arms, human rights and human security will continue to be at the mercy of irresponsible arms traders.

Ana Theresia Hontiveros-Baraquel from the Philippines added:

"It is a privilege to represent the thousands of parliamentarians around the world who have declared their backing for stronger controls on the arms trade.  We are all too aware of the huge human cost of arms misuse and we urge the states of the UN to vote to take forward a global legally binding Arms Trade Treaty.

Gagan Thapa from Nepal, added:

“As parliamentarians we collectively represent hundreds of thousands of people. We know that millions of men and women around the world support tougher controls on the arms trade. That’s why we are urging all states to take urgent action to Control Arms.”

Notes to Editors

1. A copy of the list of signatories to the Parliamentarians Declaration is available on request or at the Control Arms website at www.controlarms.org

2. PHOTOCALL: The handover will take place on Monday 20 October - Room A of the UN Building in New York, USA at 1.15pm.

3. The handover will be followed by a Panel Discussion ‘Parliamentarians in support of a global ATT’ chaired by Sauro Scarpelli from Amnesty International.

Speakers will include parliamentarians, Ibrahim Toure, from Mali, Ana Theresia "Risa" Hontiveros-Baraquel, from the Philippines and Gagan Thapa, from Nepal and Ambassador Marco Antonio Suazo Fernández, Chair 1st Committee.

Media are welcome to attend this event and there will be opportunities for broadcast interviews.

4. Background information on the Arms Trade Treaty is available on request. Including a timeline graphic for use in news media which illustrates the progress towards an Arms Trade Treaty.

5. You can find out more about the Control Arms campaign at www.controlarms.org.