New York

25 September 2014

Secretary-General's message to the High-level event on the Arms Trade Treaty [delivered by Ms. Angela Kane, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs]

Today marks a milestone in the history of the Arms Trade Treaty.  Less than two years after its adoption by the General Assembly, we have crossed the threshold of 50 ratifications needed to trigger the Treaty’s entry-into-force.  This will occur on 24 December.

I commend the Governments of Argentina, Bahamas, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Portugal, Saint Lucia, Senegal and Uruguay for depositing their instruments of ratification today.

I also salute the many civil society organizations that have helped make this speedy progress possible.  

The need for the ATT remains abundantly clear.  Deadly weaponry continues to find its way into irresponsible hands. Unscrupulous arms brokers defy UN arms embargoes.  Ruthless leaders turn their arsenals on their own citizens.  Ammunition depots are poorly guarded.  State-owned weapons go missing. Civilian airplanes end up in the crosshairs.  End-use certificates are not standardized and can be easily forged. Pirates wield grenade launchers and machine guns against merchant ships. Drug-traffickers outgun police forces.

Just as with other commodities, the trade in arms should comply with vigorous, internationally agreed standards.  All actors involved in the arms trade must be held accountable.

In adopting the Arms Trade Treaty, Member States came together to support a robust, legally binding commitment to provide a measure of hope to millions of people around the world.

Some States have put in place strong systems for regulating transfers of weaponry and ammunition.  Yet in order for the Treaty to be effective, all governments must have well-functioning oversight of weapons transfers.

Today we can look ahead with satisfaction to the date of this historic new Treaty’s entry into force. Now we must work for its efficient implementation and seek its universalisation so that the regulation of armaments -- as expressed in the Charter of the United Nations -- can become a reality once and for all.