The Arms Trade Treaty approved at the UN

Vote at the UN on the Arms Trade Treaty / Vote à l'ONU du Traité sur le commerce des armes


On April the 2nd the United Nations General Assembly approved a global Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) that failed to achieve unanimous support but garnered the support of a majority of Member States. 154 countries voted in favour, three Member States – Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Iran and Syria – voted against the decision, while 23 countries abstained, among them Russia, China and United States some of the main leading sellers of weapons. During the 2013 Global Week of Action against small arms two reports related to the ATT were launched.


The Treaty is a main achievement that has needed years of efforts from civil society together with some governments and Peace Nobel Winners. The new treaty will be a powerful tool to regulate the transfer of weapons from one country to another and to prevent grave human rights abuses. The treaty includes a prohibition on the transfer of arms which would be used in the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity and certain war crimes and called on States to act quickly to apply this prohibition, pending its entry into force.


Since 2006 Member States had pledged to engage in a multilateral effort to produce a legally binding instrument, establishing common standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional arms – including warships and battle tanks, combat aircraft and attack helicopters, as well as small arms and light weapons. The treaty will regulate the transfer of arms, that currently contribute to conflicts, regional instabilities, displacement of peoples, terrorism and transnational organized crime. The text draws a link with the presence of weapons across the developing world, especially in conflict-affected areas, with the challenge of sustainable development and safeguarding human rights.


The treaty that regulates all conventional arms but excludes munitions will enter into force 90 days after ratified by the 50th signatory. The treaty will not interfere with domestic arms commerce or the right to bear arms in Member States; ban the export of any type of weapon; harm States' legitimate right to self-defence; or undermine national arms regulation standards already in place.


Origin: UN News Centre


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