Wednesday, September 25, 2013

United States and 18 Other Countries Sign the Arms Trade Treaty; More than Half of U.N. Member States Have Now Signed the ATT

The United States and 18 other countries today signed the Arms Trade Treaty, an international agreement that will regulate the international trade in conventional arms.  

A spokesman for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said that more than half of the UN Member States have now signed the Arms Trade Treaty.  Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement that the Secretary-General, as depository of a treaty he deems important, welcomes every signature.  “It is of particular significance that the largest arms exporting country in the world, the United States, is now also among those countries who have committed themselves to a global regulation of the arms trade,” the spokesperson stressed.  

The treaty will enter into force once it receives 50 ratifications.  Six countries have already ratified the treaty, which was adopted in April 2013 by the UN General Assembly.  Among its provisions, the treaty prohibits the transfer of arms that would be used to commit genocide, crimes against humanity, and certain war crimes.

As of this afternoon, 107 countries have signed the Arms Trade Treaty.  At least two more countries are expected to sign the treaty this week.

The treaty regulates all conventional arms within the categories of battle tanks, armoured combat vehicles, large-calibre artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles and missile launchers and small arms and light weapons.

A 2011 study commissioned by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), entitled “The Global Burden of Armed Violence,” documented that more than half a million people die as a result of armed violence every year, fuelled in many cases by the widespread availability of weapons. Many more suffer horrific injuries and abuses, including rape, while still more are forced from their homes. 

Click here for more information about the Arms Trade Treaty.

Mark E. Wojcik (mew) (Adapted from a UN Press Release)

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