9 July 2012
General Assembly
DC/3366

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

United Nations Conference

on the Arms Trade Treaty

6th Meeting (AM)


Proposed Arms Trade Treaty Must Prohibit Weapon Transfers Where Risk Exists


Will Be Used to Perpetrate Sexual Violence Against Women, Conference told


As UN Arms Trade Treaty Conference Begins Second Week, Hears from

22 More Speakers in General Debate, Continues Negotiations in Main Committees


With women and girls among the major victims of the violence perpetrated with illegally traded conventional arms, it was vital that an arms trade treaty take into account and contain specific gender-based violence criterion, the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty Conference was told today as it entered its second week of negotiations in New York.


The representative of Iceland told the Conference that the treaty should require States to prohibit an international transfer where there was a substantial risk that such arms would be used to perpetrate or facilitate acts of gender-based violence, including rape and other forms of sexual violence. 


“States must conduct a meaningful assessment of that risk,” she said.  “It is equally important that the criterion acknowledges that both exporting and importing States have joint responsibility in preventing gender-based violence against women.”


Also speaking on the responsibility of states, the representative of New Zealand, speaking on behalf of the Pacific Island Forum, said that those responsibilities should depend on the respective role of the States in the transfer chain.  Accordingly, exporting states should have the primary responsibility to assess arms transfers and to only authorise them where such transfers had been assessed against the treaty’s criteria and they met the relevant parameters.  Importing States, on the other hand, should take measures to ensure that imports were not illegally diverted.


Transit and transhipment states’ responsibilities to help curb or deter the risk of diversion of the arms and to ensure transparency should be on a risk assessment basis.  For example, those States should monitor and control transfers only when they receive information or have cause to suspect a shipment on their territory might be diverted to the illicit market.


Several speakers stressed the need for any arms trade treaty to ensure respect for the right of states to import, export, manufacture or transfer arms for their legitimate security needs.


The representative of Indonesia said that the treaty should provide unambiguously for the complete and undiluted observance of the inherent right of all States, on an equal footing, to self-defence and to their territorial integrity.  It should also cover and clearly spell out the legitimate right of all sovereign States to their territorial integrity in the case of intra-State conflict.  “Ambiguity on that matter was not an option.”


Similarly, the representative of Viet Nam said that the treaty should uphold the basic principles of international law and the Charter of the United Nations, including respect for state sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in the internal affairs of States as well as respect for the legitimate right of self-defence of states.  That also related to the right of states to manufacture, export, import and maintain conventional arms for the sake of self-defence and other legitimate security needs.


Differing views were expressed on the question of whether arms used for recreational purposes should be covered by the proposed treaty.  The representative of New Zealand, on behalf of the Forum, said Forum members did not support proposals to exclude arms for civilian use, such as sporting and hunting firearms, from the scope of the treaty, although they acknowledged that travel across borders with such weapons, in order to take part in sporting competitions or for other recreational purposes, should not be subject to the treaty’s rule regarding transfers.


The representative of Italy, on the other hand, said that his country still did not believe that sports or hunting weapons should be included in the scope of an arms trade treaty, which should be regulating military weapons and systems.


Also addressing the Conference this morning were the representatives of the Russian Federation, Germany, Ireland, China, Senegal, Belarus, Syria, Pakistan, Niger, Cote d’Ivoire, Republic of Korea, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Iraq and Morocco.


A statement was also made by the representative of the Economic Community of West African States.


The representatives of Algeria, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Cuba, India, Spain, the European Union, Venezuela, the Russian Federation and Iran made statements on procedural matters.


The Chair announced that the Main Committees would resume their work at the afternoon session.


The Conference will meet again in a plenary session at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 10 July.


Background


Delegates to the United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty met today to continue their general exchange of views in continuation of the negotiations towards a comprehensive, legally binding instrument establishing common international standards for the import, export and transfer of conventional weapons. (For background, see Press Releases DC/3361 and DC/3362 of 3 July 2012.)


Statements


ALEXANDER DEYNEKO, Deputy Director, Department for Security Affairs and Disarmament, Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Russian Federation, said the coming weeks would require achieving consensus, which was not an easy task.  The preparatory committee had been unable to achieve its mandate, and did not present to the Conference recommendations that would be used to attain an effective and balanced document.  “Instead we only have a non-paper by the PrepCom Chair,” he said.  His country reaffirmed its assessment of the Chair’s document as useful for “food for thought” for further work, but not as the basis for serious negotiation nor a prototype for an international treaty.


The main problem with the document was that it had embraced a broad spectrum of approaches expressed by delegations, he said.  It was important that the resulting document unite countries, and not draw new and divisive lines between them.  Diverting arms from legal to illegal markets was a major goal, he said.  That objective could be achieved through national control systems over conventional weapons transfers, as defined independently by States.  The Russian Federation favoured an inclusive process and the adoption of decisions by consensus, which was the only way to ensure the universality of the future instrument.


HENRIETTA DIDIGU, speaking on behalf of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), said mitigating the human suffering was among the main goals of a transparent and robust treaty, which should build upon the momentum of the preparatory meetings.  The Chair’s document was a solid base for negotiations.  The scope of the treaty excluded weapons of mass destruction; however, the instrument should cover a range of convention weapons, and should include small arms and light weapons and ammunition.


Small arms and light weapons and their ammunition made up the majority of national military arsenals and stockpiles in many African countries, she said.  Instability and insecurity worsened when non-State actors had access to arms.  The treaty must include criteria to assess transfer risks.  The treaty must be balanced between the legitimate trade, the economic and political interests of some States and the humanitarian, security and developmental needs of others.


DELL HIGGIE (New Zealand), speaking on behalf of the Pacific Island Forum, said that illegal use of small arms and light weapons continued to threaten stability and  security within its communities and had contributed to conflict and armed violence in a number of states.  Small arms and light weapons continued to be used in the commission of criminal offences in the region and greatly raised the potential for increased violence in local disputes.  Recent reports also highlighted a number of arms trafficking cases, with seizures of firearm ranging from handguns to high powered assault rifles.  Those experiences strengthened the resolve of the members of the Forum to bring their support to the negotiations for an arms trade treaty.


Members of the Forum supported the conclusion of an arms trade treaty which was broad in scope and capable of comprehensively covering the full range of conventional weapons that were traded on the international market, including small arms and light weapons, she said.  Components and technology especially designed or modified to manufacture conventional weapons should also be considered for inclusion.  The Forum did not support proposals that excluded arms for civilian use, such as sporting and hunting firearms, although it acknowledged that travel across borders with those weapons in order to take part in sporting competitions or for other recreational purposes should not be subject to the treaty’s rule regarding transfers.  States involved in the transfer of arms had responsibilities to ensure that arms transfers were responsible and transparent.  Those responsibilities should, however, depend on their respective role in the transfer chain.  Exporting states should have primary responsibility to assess arms transfers and authorise transfers only where those had been assessed against the treaty’s criteria and met those parameters.  Importing states should take measures to ensure that imports were not illegally diverted.  Transit and transhipment States’ responsibilities to help curb or deter risk of diversion and to ensure transparency should be on a risk assessment basis.  For example, those States showed monitor and control transfers only where they receive information or have cause to suspect a shipment on their territory might be diverted to the illegal market.


PETER WITTIG ( Germany) said that since the outset, his country had been campaigning for a strong and robust international arms trade treaty.  The absence of international standards for the trade in conventional arms had negative and far-reaching consequences.  Every year, millions of people around the world suffered the direct and indirect effects of the poorly regulated arms trade and illicit trafficking in arms.  Hundreds of thousands of human beings were being killed or injured.  The daily threat for humanity was imminent and growing.  There was a clear case for governments to act now.  An arms trade treaty would be instrumental in rendering more legitimacy, more security and more responsibility to the international trade in arms.  That was why the treaty must set the highest common standards for regulation of the international arms trade.  It should enjoy the support of all relevant stakeholders.


The arms trade treaty should be enforced individually by its parties, he went on.  States parties should maintain their rights to decide on arms transfers. Germany was convinced that such a treaty would enjoy broad support and would receive the legitimacy it needed.  The future arms trade treaty should also be open for signature to relevant regional and international organizations in accordance with the practice followed for similar international instruments, such as the United Nations Firearms Protocol.  There was an urgent need for action.


ANNE ANDERSON ( Ireland) said the goal was a robust treaty that was universal in its application.  The treaty should have common standards that would prevent arms from slipping into illegal markets, as well as arms whose use could threaten human rights.  Small arms, light weapons, ammunition and other munitions, including explosives designed for military use should be more important, she said.


The treaty should also include compliance with United Nations Security Council resolutions, the risk of adverse effects on regional security and stability and the likely impact on the sustainable economic and social development of the receiving country and/or region, in particular with regard to terrorism and organized crime, she said.  Decisions on the authorization of transactions must remain the competence of the individual transferring State.


LI BAODONG ( China) said the humanitarian crises caused by illegal trafficking and abuse of conventional arms, especially small arms and light weapons, had increasingly raised concerns in the international community.  Efforts, including this Conference, had been made to address that problem.  The history of arms control treaty negotiation had show that to achieve consensus all parties should show full cooperation and flexibility.  To negotiate and conclude a treaty within a month, consensus must be achieved on principle issues, he said.  The treaty’s primary objective was to prevent and combat the illicit arms trade and maintain global and regional stability by regulating the arms trade without compromising a State’s rights to self-defence.  The treaty should be universal, objective and non-discriminatory and not be misused for political purposes to interfere with the normal arms trade and should aim at urging States to establish effective national regulating and control mechanisms. 


The treaty’s scope should be defined properly by covering conventional arms that had already been clearly defined internationally and accepted universally.  It was essential to conclude a treaty to regulate the international arms trade, but it could be “unhelpful” to introduce too many debatable items and transaction activities into the scope for achieving an instrument as early as possible.  An implementation mechanism should ensure the comprehensive fulfilment of the treaty, avoiding interference with States’ sovereign decisions, he said.  Regarding transparency, he said the arms trade was closely linked to national security and relevant measures should strike an appropriate balance between transparency and national security.  “Clear-cut transparency measures may not suit all,” he said.  


FATOU ISIDORA MARA NIANG ( Senegal) said the four preparatory meetings saw an exchange of views and were a solid base for negotiations.  It was important to remember that regulating conventional arms transfers was closely linked with national, subregional and regional security.  Such a treaty would have a great impact on stability, security and economic and social development, especially in Africa, which had for almost five decades become the testing ground for all conventional arms systems.


Arms proliferation continued to fuel criminal and terrorist activities throughout Africa.  An arms trade treaty must address the complex definition of conventional weapons, and ammunition and related material should be taken into account.  The treaty should also cover activities related to the arms trade, which should be clearly defined.  The architecture of the treaty could also include a global definition of arms and related equipment, rigorous criteria requiring States to refuse export, import or transfer permits in situations that risked violating human rights, and a rapid marking and tracing system.


Mr. RUDDYARD ( Indonesia) said that all issues discussed in the preparatory committee meetings should be open for consideration to be inserted in the body of the arms trade treaty.  Direct consultations among States were needed in the Conference in order to ensure a strong sense of ownership by all.  There was much in those elements on which there remained differences in opinions.  The treaty, in its principles and implementation section, should unambiguously provide for the complete and undiluted observance of the inherent rights of all states, on an equal footing, not only to self-defence, but also to their territorial integrity. In the past, discussion and practice among states on the right to self-defence had often been interpreted as a right that did not cover the right of states to maintain their territorial integrity.  Notwithstanding the arguments that espoused that notion, Indonesia would like a future arms trade treaty to cover and to clearly spell out the legitimate right of all sovereign states to their territorial integrity in the case of intra-state conflict. Ambiguity on that matter was not an option.


The treaty should also strike a fair balance between the interests of exporting states and those of importing ones, he went on. It would be difficult for his country’s parliament to ratify a future arms trade treaty if it would only regulate and leave the determination of imposing an arms embargo, in the hands of exporting states while disregarding the views of importing states.  It would not be realistic for net importing states to ratify a treaty that, in its core, was unbalanced and which prejudiced the rights of an importing state. The meaning of the term “serious and systematic violations of human rights”, which might be included in the treaty, should not only be defined by the standards of exporting states, but should be drafted in concord with the views of importing states.  Also, proposed references to internal instability, as one of the indicators for legitimizing embargo, should not be included in the treaty, as that terminology was overly subjective and could be easily politicised.  Should the treaty incorporate elements of human rights protection, those elements should be implemented consistently and equally to all states parties.


VLADIMIR GERASIMOVICH ( Belarus) said that the uncontrolled spread of conventional weapons was a serious threat to international peace and those weapons contributed to fomenting and prolonging of conflict.  His country had abstained from the General Assembly vote on an arms trade treaty not because of a lack of support for the idea of a treaty but because lack of confidence that the action would produce a truly effective document.  Three years later, certain doubts continued.  The extremely broad range of views of states and the lack of consensus could not inspire optimism in the successful completion of the document.


Belarus believed that, for many countries, the preparations for the arms trade treaty had become a difficult proposition. So far, the negotiations did not have a map and a compass.  The 2008 report of the Group of Governmental Experts and of the working group offered a starting point for negotiations.  The Conference needed to base its works on the recommendations contained in those documents. T he success of the arms trade treaty depended on having a clear definition of the gaols and objectives, which meant counteracting the diversion of weapons from the legal to the illegal market and taking action against illegal brokerage.  An arms trade treaty must reflect feasible measures in order to address those problems.  It must not contain criteria and obligations that were not related to its objectives and which would turn it into an instrument for political and economic pressure.  Measures of transparency were important, but they must be pragmatic.  The negotiating process needed to be a catalyst for addressing the uncontrolled and illicit spread of conventional weapons.


BASHAR JA’AFARI ( Syria) said the treaty should be guided by the principles set forth in the United Nations Charter and should reaffirm States’ rights to self-defence and security.  The treaty should, moreover, prohibit supplying weapons to non-State parties.  He said it was odd that, at a time when treaties on nuclear weapons were at an impasse that an arms trade treaty should target importer States only, which would be the case if the document allowed for large arms producers to set themselves up as “judges” of importing States.  That would mean that justice would target the weak link of the chain, whereas the strongest link would not be held responsible.  Any arms trade treaty must be characterized by transparency and must not impede the international community’s disarmament efforts.


Turning to the Middle East, he said that Israel was developing a significant arsenal of conventional, non-conventional and weapons of mass destruction, and its adoption of a “diplomacy of arms” encouraged international terrorism and protected drug-trafficking groups, while ignoring the fleet that traders of Israeli diamonds were exploiting the diamond trade in Africa and threatening peace and security on that continent.  The Conference needed to address a number of elements, including the rights of importer States and how the treaty would address the protection and stockpiling of weapons by large arms producing countries.  Any treaty needed to be agreed on by consensus.  His country had experienced terrible events fuelled by terrorists and extremist groups that were using suicide missions and explosive charges to target people and infrastructure aimed at a civil war.  Those terrorist actions could not take place without financial support and weapons deliveries.  States were publicly committing themselves by providing financing, training and arms to those terrorists to aid them in achieving their political goals and interfering with the internal affairs of Syria.


RAZA BASHIR TARAR ( Pakistan) said the main reason control and regulation of conventional arms had, to date, been only partially successful was the pursuit of a partial approach, particularly the attempt to separate the motivations for arms production from the controls of their trade and transfer.  Another factor was an exclusive focus on managing the effects of the trade in arms, without adequately addressing the causes that propelled such a trade in the first place.  Yet another reason was the lack of full implementation of existing regional or national commitments and obligations, he said.


The history and politics of arms regulation dictated a comprehensive approach that took into account the priorities of all Member States in a non-discriminatory manner, he said.  Such a treaty must address both the supply and demand side of the equation.  “Any treaty which seeks to address only the transfer of arms but not their development, production and deployment will be internationally inequitable against countries which do not produce such armaments,” he said.  “Such a treaty would inevitably be difficult to conclude or implement.”  It was imperative the treaty proposal strike a correct balance between motivation for production and acquisition of arms, and ensure a balance between the legitimate interests of importers and exporters in terms of principles, scope, implementation and final provisions.  However, consensus remained elusive.  Clarity was needed on the types of weapons the treaty would cover.  He hoped delegates could marshal the true spirit of multilateralism, which necessitated flexibility, compromise, consensus and balance in the interests of all States.


PHAM VINH QUANG ( Viet Nam) said that the treaty must be balanced and non-discriminatory and should be practical and effective in preventing the illicit trade of conventional arms.  It should uphold the basic principles of international law and the Charter of the United Nations, including respect for State sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in the internal affairs of states and respect for their legitimate right to self-defence of States.  That also related to their right to manufacture, export, import and maintain conventional arms for the sake of self-defence and other legitimate security needs.  To ensure consistency and effectiveness in the implementation of the arms trade treaty, its scope must be reasonable and proper and should only include, with specific definitions, the seven categories of weapons specified in the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, and small arms and light weapons.  Inclusion of ammunition, parts and components and components in a treaty would make the implementation process too complicated and inconsistent, and would create an unnecessary burden on national development.


The criteria for assessing arms transfers must take into account certain principles, including the non-use of force or threat of the use of force in international relations, the peaceful settlement of disputes among States, and the responsibilities of relevant states in accordance with their international, regional and subregional obligations and commitments, he continued.  It should also take into account the potential for the use of transferred arms to seriously undermine international, regional and national peace, security and stability, or to be used to carry out terrorist activities or commit transnational organized crime.  In addition, there should be a prohibition on the transfer to non-State actors that were not authorised or licensed by state authorities, to prevent the diversion of arms to illicit arms.  The assessment of arms transfers should also consider the potential consequences of transfer denials, especially on the right of states to adopt the necessary measures to exercise their right to self-defence and meet legitimate security needs.


BOUBACAR BOUREIMA ( Niger) expressed satisfaction that the Conference was taking place and hoped that its outcome would help ensure more efficient control of the international trade in conventional weapons.  Control of conventional weapons was one of the most important issues before the international community, as such weapons were the root cause of many armed conflicts.  His country knew a thing or two about the harmful consequences of that lack of control, because it had experienced a few of them.  The illicit trade in those weapons fed many other phenomena, such as trafficking, and led to manifestations of irredentism.  Niger expected specific results from the current Conference.


In negotiating the treaty, there was the need for ensuring a balance between the need of States for their legitimate self-defence and the requirement for controls in the transfer process, he said.  In addition, the present documents did not address the issue of resale of weapons which sometimes came about due to some conflicts.  Non-State actors were sometimes involved in such resale.  On the implementation of the treaty, he said that international assistance needed to be consistent with the forms of assistance provided in other areas, such as in fighting drug trafficking or terrorism, with a view to ensuring effectiveness.  There was also a need to take into account regional specificity in negotiating the treaty.


YOUSSOUFOU BAMBA ( Cote d’Ivoire), said since 1990 arms had killed more than 10 million people, 90 per cent of them civilians and 80 per cent of them women and children.  It was well known that while conventional arms had not been the direct cause of crises and conflicts in his region, the circulation of arms encouraged antagonistic parties to depend on violence over finding peaceful solutions.  Conventional arms circulation in his country was constant, which resulted in support for the moratorium on importing, exporting and producing small arms and light weapons, and ratifying the Landmine Convention and other international instruments.  However, crises and conflict in the region continued.  He was convinced that the only solution was international cooperation in taking appropriate measures to address the proliferation and illicit spread of arms.


The Conference was a formidable opportunity to contribute to regional and international security, address grave violations of human rights and prevent the spread of conventional weapons from legal to illegal markets and non-authorized users.  The treaty must also consider United Nations Charter rights and must include military materiel and related items.  All types of transfers should be included in the treaty, which should also be a transparent mechanism with effective procedures.


KIM SOOK ( Republic of Korea) said “everyone in this room is making history for ushering the arms trade treaty into a reality.”  The treaty should reflect well-balanced deliberations in terms of feasibility, scope and parameters, in order to attract the largest possible amount of members.  It was important that the treaty contain clear, precise and pragmatic provisions and language and respect States’ legitimate security interests. 


The treaty should seek universality and set the highest possible common international standards that included all stakeholders, including major arms producers, exporters and importers.  He supported the “7+1” solution, which would have the treaty include United Nations Register weapons, along with small arms and light weapons.  An effective treaty could only be created when it was based on feasible and clearly defined obligations and must seek to promote transparency in a manner consistent with States’ rights, to protect sensitivity.


LADISLAV STEINHÜBEL( Czech Republic) said that his country had constantly supported the adoption of an arms trade treaty to regulate the international trade in conventional weapons. The paper prepared by the Conference President represented a very good basis for the negotiations for the treaty.  His country had a strong belief that during the four weeks of the Conference, participants would be successful in drafting a highly efficient document that would contribute to reducing violations of human rights due to the illicit trade in conventional weapons.


GIOVANNI MANFREDI ( Italy) said that the President’s draft paper was a very good basis for the work of the Conference in the coming weeks.  Italy had been fully supportive of the treaty process from the beginning.  By regulating the legal arms trade through setting common standards and control mechanisms of the highest possible order, the international community would be able to tackle more effectively and efficiently those phenomena that constituted a substantial threat to international peace and security, such as trade diversion and illicit arms trafficking.


All military conventional arms and systems, small arms and light weapons, munitions, related technology, parts and components should be included in the treaty, he went on.  Italy still did not believe that sports or hunting weapons pertained to the scope of a treaty regulating military weapons and systems.  There was need for clear, strong and comprehensive criteria against which exports should be assessed.  Should a transfer be in violation of international obligations, or a violation against any embargoes decided upon by the Security Council, then the treaty should contain a provision on its automatic ban.  Similarly, in cases where a risk of serious violations of international human rights law or international humanitarian law might emerge from a possible transfer of arms, then such transfer must be prohibited.  Implementing the treaty should be the individual responsibility of the State party.  States should be mandated to establish proper and functioning systems, including credible and enforceable sanctions for individuals who violated provisions of national law.


RI TONG IL (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said conventional weapons had a deep impact on peace and security, as weapons were flowing into regions as a means of war.  Further, arms were finding their way into unauthorized hands, which were then using them to destabilize situations.  Due attention should be given to the proliferation of weapons in conflict regions and “hot spots”, including in the Korean Peninsula.  He described his country’s new defence strategy, and shifting focus to the Asian region, said the United States was hell bent on selling to South Korea the most advanced conventional weapons.  Last June alone, for example, South Korea had requested an estimated $1 billion in weapons, including cruise missiles.


Inequalities in conventional weapons production should be rejected, he said.  Certain countries had monopolies on producing and exporting weapons while many developing countries could only import those weapons.  The rights to self-defence should be fully respected, he said, pointing to the United Nations Charter and a range of issues should be examined during the Conference.


ERWIN BOLLINGER, Head of Bilateral Economic Relations of Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, said there was a need for common international standards to regulate arms.  The treaty must be linked to a clear reduction of human injury resulting from armed violence.  The goals could only be achieved if the scope of the treaty was broad and the criteria included exhaustive categories.  In addition, the treaty should address the diversion of arms that fuelled the illicit market.  Numerous challenges loomed, he said, but he hoped that a final instrument would be effective in addressing humanitarian concerns.


Mr. AL JUMIALY ( Iraq) expressed support for the treaty and said that it would enable the international community to govern the trade in conventional weapons.  Any arms trade treaty must uphold the right of people to self-determination and right of States to produce, import and export weapons as well as prevent illicit trade in weapons and combat terrorism.  Iraq had supported the United Nations General Assembly resolution on the treaty, because it was convinced that it was capable of producing an international binding instrument and could prevent the flows of weapons to the illicit market.  It supported transparency and openness in the discussion of the provisions of the treaty, in order to produce an effective and balanced text.  The treaty should allow the transfer of information and experience in technical areas.


Iraq had been making efforts to implement its international obligations since its openness to the international community began, he went on.  It had undertaken measures for the ratification of the anti-personal mines convention and had adopted the convention on excessively injurious conventional weapons.  It had also been providing reports on small arms and light weapons.  The Middle East was facing challenges in terms of balance.  The arms trade treaty must not deprive states of the right to import weapons.  The present documents did not allow for reservations by States, but Iraq believed that an arms trade treaty must permit states to have reservations.


MOHAMMED LOULICHKI ( Morocco) said that lack of control of international weapons transfers fostered instability and uncontrolled transfers undermined efforts at sustainable development.  In 2006, his country had supported the idea of concluding an arms trade treaty.  By regulating arms trade, the international community could help stop violations of international law or of human rights.  The treaty should, however, respect States’ right to maintain their sovereignty and territorial integrity.  The negotiations should be an inclusive and transparent process and should build on existing knowledge.  The goals of the treaty should be clearly defined to ensure maximum effectiveness.  In addition, there should be no erection of technical barriers and the provisions of the treaty should reflect a commitment to helping those countries that needed help with implementation.


GRÉTA GUNNARSDÓTTIR ( Iceland) said the treaty should set ambitious standards and establish legally binding criteria that reflected existing frameworks and related conventions.  It should also encompass all types of weapon transfers and all conventional arms, including ammunition, dual-use items and technology and services related to production, development and maintenance of such weapons.  It was also essential that the instrument specified requirements for end-user and end-use certificates for activities and objects covered by the treaty.  National authorities should enforce an effective licensing system for arms transfers and services backed by adequate sanctions, she said. 


Further, she said it was vital that the treaty took into account and contained a specific gender-based violence criterion to prevent any such violence against women and girls.  Accordingly, the treaty should require States to prohibit an international transfer where there was a substantial risk that the arms would likely be used to perpetrate or facilitate acts of gender-based violence, including rape and other forms of sexual violence.  “States must conduct a meaningful assessment of that risk,” she said.  “It is equally important that the criterion acknowledges that both exporting and importing States have joint responsibility in preventing gender-based violence against women.”


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For information media • not an official record