On the first anniversary of the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), 18 countries took a big step forward toward ensuring its rapid entry into force. These governments formally deposited their instruments of ratification at the United Nations as part of a ceremony today, and included Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The additional ratifications bring the total tally to 31. It is also noteworthy that this list includes five of the ten biggest arms exporters (Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and the United Kingdom).

50 ratifications are needed for the ATT to enter into force and become international law. The event was also attended by high ranking UN officials including the Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson and Deputy High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Virginia Gamba.

Anna Macdonald, speaking on behalf of Control Arms, said “Let us all remember that the purpose of this treaty is to save and protect lives. All of the governments ratifying here today can also act to show that these are not just words on paper, and a photo in the press. This is about change and opportunity. You can change the arms trade and really make a difference to the millions of men, women and children who suffer from armed violence and conflict every day. You have the opportunity now to lead by example.” The full text of her speech is available here.

Ambassadors from every country that ratified joined the Race to 50 campaign by having their photos taken with Control Arms coalition members at the end of the event. These have been shared widely on social media.

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