Arms Trade Treaty Set to Open for Signature

May 23, 2013|By Ryan Kaminski, Leo Nevas Human Rights Fellow
On Monday, June 3, the UN Arms Trade Treaty will open for signature by the 193 members of the UN. The treaty, agreed to overwhelmingly by the UN General Assembly on April 2, 2013, establishes the first-ever global standard for the trade of conventional arms. Specifically, the treaty calls upon states to ensure to that arms exports will not be used to commit atrocities.

According to Secretary of State John Kerry, “The treaty adopted  . . . will establish a common international standard for the national regulation of the international trade in conventional arms and require all states to develop and implement the kind of systems that the United States already has in place . . . It will help reduce the risk that international transfers of conventional arms will be used to carry out the world’s worst crimes, including terrorism, genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.”

The ATT will come into force when 50 countries ratify the convention, which is expected to happen in 2013. The original draft document was agreed to by the UN General Assembly in a vote of 154 in favor and three against, with 23 abstentions on April 2, 2013.  Iran, North Korea, and Syria all voted against the treaty.

The U.S. cosponsored and voted to support the draft within the General Assembly. U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative Rosemary Dicarlo, “The [ATT] result . . . is an instrument that succeeds in raising the bar on common standards for regulating international trade in conventional arms while helping to ensure that legitimate trade in such arms will not be unduly hindered.”  

The Obama Administration has claimed it is conducting a thorough interagency review regarding potentially signing onto the convention.

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