Global Arms Trade Treaty

Thanks to your support, the Arms Trade treaty is now a reality!

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.

Less than 18 months later, on 25 September 2014, more than 50 states had already ratified the ATT. And 90 days later, on 24 December 2014, the first international Arms Trade Treaty finally entered into force.

Civilians have been paying too high a price for the lack of global arms controls which have permitted arms and ammunition to be legally transferred into the hands of dictators and warlords:

  • 2 bullets are made for every person on the planet every year 
  • Up to 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

Now governments have the chance to change the arms trade for good, and if rigorously implemented this treaty will save lives.

Now that the ATT is a reality, the next major challenge will be to ensure the treaty – which sets new international law - is implemented robustly. We also still need to encourage every state to sign up to the Arms Trade Treaty. The more countries that sign and ratify the treaty, the better. 

What you can do

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

  • Follow @Controlarms and @Oxfam on Twitter
  • Share the latest blogs on conflicts and disasters
  • 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
  • Look at the status of the treaty, country by country (UN) 
  • Track the universalization of the Arms Trade Treaty 
  • Watch and share 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.

Making history

When Oxfam and the Control Arms coalition launched this campaign for a global Arms Trade Treaty, a decade ago, the concept was dismissed by many governments as an idealistic fantasy. But after years of activism and campaigning, this ATT has become a reality. The Treaty opened for signature on 3 June 2013, and entered into force on 24 December 2014, 90 days after it was ratified by the required 50 states.

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 when the United States, followed by Russia and few other states, demanded more time.

In April 2013 the United Nations General Assembly finally approved the Arms Trade Treaty. We must keep the pressure up to persuade more countries to sign up to and ratify the treaty and to make sure it will be implemented robustly.