Why?

Every day, millions of people suffer from the direct and indirect consequences of the irresponsible arms trade: thousands are killed, others are injured, many are raped, and/or forced to flee from their homes, while many others have to live under constant threat of weapons. The poorly regulated global trade in conventional arms and ammunition fuels conflict, poverty and human rights abuses. The problems are compounded by the increasing globalization of the arms trade – components being sourced from across the world, and production and assembly in different countries, sometimes with lenient controls. Domestic regulation of the arms trade has failed to adapt to these changes. While existing national and regional controls are important, these are not enough to stop irresponsible transfers of arms and ammunition between countries.

This is why the Control Arms campaign is calling on the member states of the United Nations to deliver a strong and effective Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) to help save lives, prevent human rights abuses, and protect the livelihoods of people around the world. The Treaty must be an international, legally binding instrument based on States' existing obligations under international law. It must be properly implemented to reduce the human cost associated with the uncontrolled trade in conventional weapons and ammunition. It must establish binding criteria for analyzing international arms transfers on a case-by-case basis, and clearly determine when an arms transfer is prohibited.

When?

The deadline is 2012. It is crucial that the ATT is agreed to in the shortest time frame possible. The United Nation's final negotiating conference for the Arms Trade Treaty is scheduled for 2012 – that deadline must be kept! An Arms Trade Treaty is needed now to stop irresponsible arms transfers from fueling poverty, conflict, and human rights abuses. It must be strong. It must be stringent.

The treaty must hold governments accountable.

It must be based on States' existing legal obligations to international humanitarianlaw and UN Charters.

HUMAN RIGHTS AND INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW

Armed violence impinges on citizens' basic human rights to security, food, education, and medical care, among others. An Arms Trade Treaty must ensure no transfer is permitted when there is substantial risk the arms will be used to commit serious violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

UNITED NATIONS CHARTER

Illegal arms transfers violate UN charter obligations to maintain and strengthen international peace and security, and to achieve international cooperation in problem-solving. An Arms Trade Treaty must ensure no transfer is permitted when there is a clear risk the arms will be used to violate the UN Charter.

The treaty must be all-inclusive.

It must include all weapons, all transfers, and all transactions.

ALL WEAPONS

Armed violence is not caused by weapons in hands of unlawful groups. An Arms Trade Treaty must include all military, security, and police arms, related equipment and ammunition, and training.

ALL TRANSFERS AND TRANSACTIONS

Arms do not only enter borders via direct sales. An Arms Trade Treaty must control the import, export, and re-export of weapons, in addition to temporary transfer and transshipments, loans, gifts, and aid. It must also control those who provide training, transport, storage, and finance.

The treaty must be workable and enforceable.

It must provide guidelines for full, clear implementation.

TRANSPARENCY AND COOPERATION

Arms regulations can't be made or implemented behind closed doors. An Arms Trade Treaty must be transparent and must include a comprehensive plan for international cooperation and reporting.

COMPLIANCE AND ACCOUNTABILITY

Arms agreements must be enforceable. An Arms Trade Treaty must have a mechanism for monitoring compliance, and must include provisions for dispute settlement and sanctions.

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Control Arms in partnership with Reaching Critical Will, has built an interactive tool to track all States' positions on key issues in the ATT negotiations called armstreaty.org. It also allows you – the user – to help fill in the gaps.