The Arms Trade


This is a victory for the world’s people. The ATT […] will be a powerful new tool in our efforts to prevent grave human rights abuses or violations of international humanitarian law. And it will provide much-needed momentum for other global disarmament and non-proliferation efforts.

Ban Ki-moon


In all parts of the world, the ready availability of weapons and ammunition has led to human suffering, political 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.


Implications for the United Nations


The United Nations, in its work to assist people all over the world, is confronted everyday with the negative impact of lax controls on the arms trade. The ATT will:

  • reduce the violence against millions of civilians in conflict-ridden regions;
  • help create a conducive environment for the United Nations to carry out its mandates in the areas of humanitarian assistance, peacekeeping, peacemaking and post-conflict peacebuilding and the promotion of the Millennium Development Goals;
  • foster a safer environment for humanitarian actors operating in volatile areas across the globe.



Governments remain primarily responsible for providing security and protecting their populations, keeping to the rule of law. That is why they are expected to show responsibility in their decisions regarding international arms transfers. Before approving such transfers of weapons or ammunition, States Parties to the ATT will be required to assess the risk that such transfers would exacerbate conflict or be used to commit grave violations of international humanitarian law or human rights law.


Arms Trade Treaty

The swift entry into force of the ATT would be a clear indication of its signatories’ willingness and determination to address the poorly regulated international arms trade. The United Nations is committed to supporting the full and effective implementation of the ATT.