On 1 March 2017, Honduras deposited its instrument of ratification for the Arms Trade Treaty, becoming the 10thLatin American State Party to the Treaty.
Honduras, due in part to its strategic position as transit state in the drug trade coupled with endemic poverty, corruption and political turmoil, has experienced high levels of armed violence in recent years. According to a Small Arms Survey report, Honduras’ homicide rate is 8.5 times higher than the global average, 80% of these homicides having been committed with firearms. The same report indicates that 60% of the weapons (approximately 420,000) currently in circulation in Honduras are illegal.
Maria Pia Devoto, Director of Asociación para el Analisi de Politicas Publicas (APP) noted that this is an significant step for the Northern Triangle region, made up of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. She stressed that “the Arms Trade Treaty, if effectively implemented, could become a powerful and much needed tool in combating organized crime, diversion and drug trafficking”.
The Permanent Mission of Honduras to the United Nations, in a briefing statement noted that “With this action, the Honduran government contributes to avoid the irresponsible transfer of arms, that affects the region, looking forward to contribute in achieving some of the objectives of sustainable development. A successful implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty, its role in combating illicit arms trafficking, the raising level of security in the region and the reduction of the number of victims of armed violence will be a key instrument for achieving and oversee development.”
El Salvador joined the ATT in April 2014 and Guatemala ratified July 2016.
Control Arms welcomes the ratification of Honduras and urges other countries in the region to join the Treaty in order to reduce armed violence and organized crime and to contribute to regional peace and security.