Arms Trade Treaty
In all parts of the world, the ready availability of weapons and ammunition has led to human suffering, repression, crime and terror among civilian populations. Irresponsible transfers of conventional weapons can destabilize security in a region, enable the violation of Security Council arms embargoes and contribute to human rights abuses. Importantly, investment is discouraged and development disrupted in countries experiencing conflict and high levels of violence, which also affect their ability to attain the Millennium Development Goals.
Concerned by the misuse of weaponry around the world, civil society organizations have successfully mobilized governments and parliamentarians to call for the global regulation of the conventional arms trade.
Towards an Arms Trade Treaty: the UN process
In 2006, the General Assembly adopted a resolution on an arms trade treaty.
The resolution requested countries to submit their views to the 2007 report of the Secretary-General on the issue. More than 100 countries did. In 2008 a Group of Governmental Experts produced a report on the topic.
In 2009 an Open-ended Working Group held two meetings on an arms trade treaty, which allowed all States to contribute to the debate. A total of six sessions of this Group were planned.
At the end of 2009 the General Assembly decided to convene a Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty in 2012 “to elaborate a legally binding instrument on the highest possible common international standards for the transfer of conventional arms”.
The GA also indicated that the remaining four sessions of the Open-ended Working Group should be considered as sessions of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for this Conference.
The first PrepCom took place in July 2010. In 2011, PrepComs are held on 28 February - 4 March, and 11 - 15 July.
All UN documents mentioned can be found through Documents