Dying for Action

Decision time for an urgent, effective Arms Trade Treaty

Publication date: 7 October 2009

On 6 December 2006, the UN General Assembly first voted to work towards an Arms Trade Treaty to protect civilians worldwide from irresponsible arms transfers.
For almost three years, governments have discussed what the treaty might look like. And in that time, Oxfam estimates that almost 2.1 million men, women, and children have died as a result of armed violence. Millions more have been injured, displaced, or impoverished. Had there been an effective Arms Trade Treaty in place, regulating the flow of arms around the world, it could have significantly reduced this human tragedy.
Oxfam calls on governments to put agreeing the treaty at the top of the diplomatic agenda. A weak treaty would be worthless. Only a tough Arms Trade Treaty would make a difference. The time for that tough treaty is now.

Key recommendations from the report:

  • Before the end of 2009, the UN General Assembly must vote to start negotiations in 2010 to agree an effective Arms Trade Treaty.
  • It must plan now for sufficient time for negotiations in 2010 and 2011 – to be concluded at an international conference in 2012.
  • Throughout this process, governments must negotiate to ensure that the treaty will work – to stop irresponsible arms transfers, and to save lives.