On the first anniversary of the Arms Trade Treaty’s (ATT) opening for signature and ratification, momentum continued as eight more countries deposited their ATT instruments of ratification. The deposits were made at a special ceremony at UN Headquarters and bring the total number of ratifications to 40, with just 10 more needed to meet the 50 required for entry-into-force.

The eight countries that added their support to the “Race to 50” effort are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Jamaica, Luxembourg, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Samoa. With 40 ratifications and 118 signatures being achieved in the first 12 months, the ATT is now one of the fastest treaties to move toward entry-into-force.

The global support was highlighted by Dr. Robert Mtonga speaking on behalf of Control Arms in the UN ratification ceremony. “The geographic spread of states ratifying today – from Africa, Europe, the Caribbean and the Pacific – shows clearly that this is a treaty with global support. We now need all these states, as well as all others who have signed the ATT, to live up to its aims and implement tough controls on the $85bn arms trade, ” Dr. Mtonga said. He made a strong call to African states to join the #Raceto50:

“African determination and African realities helped shape the ATT into a treaty that can save lives and protect people, and reduce the scourge of armed violence. If it were not for Africa, the ATT may not have small arms and light weapons and ammunition included within the range of weapons covered. These are the weapons that cause so much devastation in my continent every day, and yet so few of them are actually produced in Africa. The AK-47 and its derivatives has become the weapon of choice in so many African conflicts, yet we estimate that over 95% of these weapons come from outside of the continent. In my work as a doctor in Africa I have treated patients who have suffered from armed violence, and I have also seen first hand how disruptive and destructive armed violence is to development efforts.

We now need African determination again to help implement the treaty to the highest standards, and to create international norms that will transform the arms trade. I call upon all African states that have not yet done so to sign and ratify the Arms Trade Treaty.”

Control Arms welcomes the new ratifications, and continues to encourage all UN Member States to act swiftly to ensure that the ATT is implemented to high standards and results in substantial action on the ground.

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