To celebrate this victory, Laura Boldrini, the President of the Chamber of Deputies hosted the “More Rules, Less Violence: Innovative Aspects of the International Arms Trade Treaty” conference on 7 October. The event was attended by representatives from international and regional institutions, the diplomatic community, multilateral organizations and civil society. Its scope was to highlight the ATT’s global benefits as well as some of its innovative elements. The discussions centered on the Treaty’s ability to successfully address the problem of gender-based violence and violence against children in relation to the unregulated arms trade. The ATT requires that its member states assess whether there are any risks that the weapons will be used to commit serious acts against women and children, before authorizing any export.

Ambassador Mariangela Zappia, the Head of the EU Delegation to the UN in Geneva, explained in her speech the important role that the ATT will play in diminishing gender-based violence, which unfortunately has become more widespread in recent conflicts.

“The Treaty’s explicit provision on gender based violence clearly recognizes the links between such violence and the arms trade. But on top of this, and again for the first time in a legally binding international arms control instrument, it introduces a binding criterion on gender-based violence..”

Ambassador Zappia also stressed that in order for this problem to be solved effectively, the whole mindset regarding inequality between men and women during conflict must be changed. This can only be achieved by properly training the police, armed forces and judges and by including gender considerations into all the aspects pertaining to conflict from arms control and non-proliferation to mediation and peace-building. She concluded her speech by stating “With the ATT we have a new tool which I see as an integral part of the ‘women, peace and security architecture.”

Other key note speakers present at the event were Marta Dassù, the Italian Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Franco Frattini, the President of Italian Society for International Organizations and Mari Skare, NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security, while Federica Mogherini, a Member of the Italian Parliament and Mario Mauro, the Italian Defense Minister offered the closing remarks.

Despite this great victory in the Italian Parliament or the incredible success of the “More Rules, Less Violence” conference, more must be done in order to ensure the full implementation of the ATT. These achievements represent only the beginning of a long fight to transform the Treaty into international law and to ensure that all states abide by its standards and regulations. Francesco Vignarca, the Coordinator of the Italian Network for Disarmament, accurately stated:

“We have to consider this significantly unanimous vote at Italian Parliament and what this Treaty means as a first step to be completed in near future. Or it could just be a missed opportunity. Without a strong and clear implementation of control mechanisms and a future improvement of some standards in the text of the Treaty, we are facing the risk of ineffectiveness. But we are confident.”

Photo contributed by Umberto Battaglia

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