The Arms Trade Treaty (ATT): an historical opportunity and indispensable tool to help promote international peace

Angeline Annesteus

The current practice of allowing irresponsible transfer of military and security equipments has resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of life, loss of livelihoods and gross International human rights and humanitarian laws violations. Nations of the world are finally gathered in New York to develop a treaty that will help bring about the much needed accountability, transparency in arms trade that ultimately will positively impact human rights.

While there have been different forms of national and regional regulations on arms flows, there are currently no comprehensive legally binding international rules governing the global arms trade. As a result, UN arms embargoes are violated, and gaps and loopholes are common in both regional and international controls allowing arms brokers to make huge profits while trading with scrupulous regimes, rebel groups, terrorists, and militias who are chief human rights violators.

It is an absurd and sad reality that from oil to bananas there are international agreements governing their trade while there is none controlling arms flows. This July 2012, political leaders have a historic opportunity to negotiate a comprehensive and robust internationally agreed treaty to regulate the global arms trade and finally place human rights, sustainable development, and humanitarian ambitions above profit and self-interest.

The ATT seeks to strictly regulate the sale and transfer of all weapons, arms, munitions, and related equipment used in military and international security operations, and will require states to publicly report on all deliveries and undertake rigorous risk assessments prior to any authorization of an international arms transfer or transaction.

There is no doubt, if delegates leave no room for loopholes in the final agreement, the ATT will certainly be an indispensable tool in maintaining international security.

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