Optimism as Preparatory Committee on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) ends

On 17 February, the fourth ATT Preparatory Committee ended after states finally agreed on rules of procedure for the final negotiations in July this year. One outcome was that all decisions in the negotiations will be adopted ‘by consensus’. However, several states made it clear that this does not mean a single state will be able to veto provisions in the final Treaty. It was agreed that NGOs will be allowed access to most sessions, and granted a time slot to formally address delegates. Although this PrepCom was slowed by intense negotiations on procedural matters, the paper from the third PrepCom in July 2010 survived and provides a good foundation for the negotiations this summer. Many states have expressed their support for the inclusion of small arms and light weapons and ammunition in the scope of the ATT, as well as references to victim assistance, cooperation and assistance, and gender based violence. However, we will need to remain active and vigilant to make sure these issues are included in the final treaty text". http://www.reachingcriticalwill.org/legal/att/monitor.html



Small arms Control measures

In July 2012, UN member states will meet to negotiate a legally binding international instrument governing the transfer of conventional arms: the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). The ATT initiative represents an important step in the global struggle against illicit arms transfers. As a contribution to the ATT discussions, the Small Arms Survey has issued, Small Arms Transfer Control Measures and the Arms Trade Treaty: A Small Arms Survey Review (2007–10). This research will help inform the ATT discussions by illustrating some of the strengths and weaknesses in the current export control regime, as well as highlighting some options for improvement.



Members of Parliaments sign declaration on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT)

Nearly 150 Members of Parliament worldwide have signed the Parliamentarian Declaration on the Arms Trade Treaty. According to the Control Arms Secretariat, “Support from parliamentarians is critical to our long-term success; they can act as advocates, lawmakers, guardians of public trust and also as moral individuals”. For an updated version of the declaration and more information on how to collect signatures, see



A victim calls for a strong Arms Trade Treaty (ATT)

Former IANSA Board member Dr Mick North, who lost his 5-year old daughter in the 1996 Dunblane primary school shooting, is calling on the UK government to support a strong ATT that can help prevent gun violence. In a statement, he said, "Over the next few months the UK's voice must remain strong, consistent and direct…We've come too far to weaken our stance and I want Prime Minister David Cameron to ensure that the UK remains fully committed to securing a strong treaty". On 13 February, in an event in Glasgow organised by the Scottish sections of Amnesty International and Oxfam, he was joined by David Grimason, a gun control campaigner whose 2-year old son was killed in crossfire in Turkey in 2003. David Grimason said, “At the moment three-quarters of a million people are dying every year … because of the easy access to firearms, I think this treaty will reduce the amount of firearms out there and save a number of lives and make the world a lot safer".


Mapping the small arms trade

The Norwegian Initiative on Small Arms Transfers (NISAT) have updated their ‘Arms Trade Mapper’, an online tool for visualising data on the global trade in small arms. It provides the option to view trade between countries, and individual profiles for each country including information on their export and imports and top trading partners as well as homicide rates, GDP Per Capita, and human rights records.


Sweden: Arms exports reach record level

Swedish disarmament campaigners are outraged after a new report shows Swedish arms exports are higher than ever, reaching a total value of over 2 billion USD in 2011. Sweden is currently the world’s largest arms exporter per capita. The Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society said, "Among the largest buyers in the last year, we notice Thailand, Saudi Arabia, India, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates. These countries, where serious human rights violations take place, received about 60% of the total arms exports from Sweden". Sofia Walan of IANSA member Swedish Fellowship of Reconciliation (SweFor) said, "This is shameful and it is clear that there are strong commercial interests affecting how the laws are interpreted". The campaigners have issued a motion of censure demanding that the government put an end to irresponsible arms exports.


DR Congo: National Commission on small arms welcomes new regional office

The National Commission on small arms in the DR Congo has established a regional office in the western city of Boma, with support from UNDP to bring together local representatives of the military, the national police and intelligence, border control officials and civil society organisations. In January, a delegation from Kinshasa led a 5 day training in Boma on best practices for the collection and destruction of weapons and the importance of a gendered approach, based on the experience of colleagues in other parts of the country and their work to curb the proliferation of small arms. Another regional office is already operational in Bunia, Eastern DR Congo, and plans are underway to open similar entities in Lubumbashi in the south and the northern city of Kisangani.


Norwegian Campaign highlights irresponsible arms trade

“Sweet Norwegian Deals” is a new campaign by the Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) which highlights how Norwegian export policy, particularly on arms and ammunition, is contributing to poverty and under-development. NCA calls on the Norwegian government to review their arms export policy, enforce end user agreements on all transfers, and support an Arms Trade Treaty to prevent Norwegian arms from fuelling conflict and being used in serious human rights violations. 


Uganda: New gun control policy proposed following police shooting

The Uganda National Focal Point on small arms has released a policy statement calling for a new law to replace the 1970 Firearms Act, which currently regulates guns and ammunition in the country. The proposed law would require any person applying for a gun licence to complete a training course and pass tests on gun laws and the use, carry and proper storage of guns. The Focal Point also proposed that public areas such as hospitals, schools, theatres, museums and entertainment venues are declared gun-free areas. Richard Mugisha of the Ugandan Action Network on Small Arms (UANSA) commented that training of law enforcement personnel is also essential to prevent abuse. The policy was proposed just days after a police officer fired shots at an unarmed crowd in Port Bell, near Kampala, killing at least one person and injuring several others.



Report on Dutch arms exports in 2010

An analysis of Dutch arms exports in 2010, compiled by Campagne tegen Wapenhandel (Campaign Against Arms Trade), is now available in English. It provides details of transfers with a special focus on the arms trade with the Middle East and North Africa. According to the authors, transfers in 2010 included the sale of a substantial amount of surplus guns and ammunition to Jordan. In addition, arms transit through the Netherlands included 300 Belgian machine guns destined for Bahrain, 5.000 Czech pistols to Bangladesh and nearly 350 million Russian firearm cartridges to the US.



DR Congo: Ministries and best practice on disarmament

In the DR Congo, the Minister of Interior and Security, in cooperation with IANSA member Réseau Congolais d'Action sur les Armes Légères (RECAAL) and the National Commission om small arms hosted a morning of education on best practice for disarmament. Participants were informed about guidelines developed by the Regional Centre on Small Arms (RECSA) for the Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa on tackling disarmament issues in a way that takes into account the context of each state in the region. The meeting was attended by representatives and experts from civil society, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Interior, and the National Commission.


Blog on the Arms Trade Treaty and UN Programme of Action on small arms

This blog elaborates on the differences and common features of the anticipated Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and the UN Programme of Action on small arms (PoA). The blog is an effort to Prevent War.


Guinea: New Year celebration to prevent
small arms proliferation

In the northern town of Maali in Guinea, New Year was celebrated with an event to raise awareness among young people about HIV/AIDS and the proliferation of small arms. More than 1000 people attended the event. It was organised by the visiting Youth Council of Kedougou, Senegal, as part of efforts to promote integration between Senegal and Guinea. The president of the Senegalese group said, “We need to join forces to fight these two scourges and ensure social stability and health in our bordering countries”. Activities included a question and answer session and the performing of music and poetry on the consequences of misuse of guns, the dangers of homemade weapons, and security in the home. Participants were invited to become mediators and help to inform their communities about what they had learned.



South Sudan: Government launches disarmament programmes

The Government of South Sudan has announced the start of disarmament campaigns in volatile states following recent clashes between armed groups where hundreds of people are thought to have been killed. South Sudan President Salva Kiir has offered an amnesty to rebel groups, but warned that if weapons are not handed in peacefully, the army will take them by force. Civilian possession of SALW remains a significant obstacle to promoting security for communities in South Sudan. But, if poorly managed, efforts to disarm populations can potentially act as a catalyst for violence between communities or result in clashes between the military and the communities that are to be disarmed.



Ammunition marking

“Ammunition Marking: Current Practices and Future Possibilities”, a new Small Arms Survey Issue Brief, provides practical and technical insight into the process of marking ammunition and reviews new technologies, current regulations, global trends and regional approaches.


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