As part of the “100 Days of Speaking Out!”, a countdown to the treaty negotiations, Control Arms will regularly feature stories and profiles of different people who support a bulletproof ATT.
Control Arms members in the UK met with a number of MPs during a joint meeting on the ATT last week in London.
The All Party Parliamentary Group on the UN (UNAPPG) and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Weapons and Protection of Civilians held a joint meeting on the Arms Trade Treaty in the British Parliament on 25 April. The meeting was chaired by UN PPG Chairperson Lord Hannay and Weapons and Protection of Civilians APPG Chairperson Martin Caton MP. Alistair Burt, Minister for Counter Proliferation and Anna MacDonald, Head of Arms Control at Oxfam and co-chair of the Control Arms Coalition outlined their objectives and expectations for the forthcoming negotiations on the treaty at the UN in New York from 2-27 July. The event was attended by about 15 parliamentarians representing Britain’s three main political parties. As well, representatives from Amnesty International, Article 36, Oxfam, Saferworld and the United Nations Association UK were in attendance.
The Minister stated that the UK wanted an ATT that covers all weapons including small arms, ammunition and parts and components and that had criteria based on human rights, international humanitarian law and development, as well provisions on corruption and transparency. The Minister noted that while there will need to be some compromise the UK would not sign a treaty that was ‘weak and ineffective’. Effectiveness would be measured by how strong the final treaty was, as well as by whether the major arms exporters signed up to it, he said.
Anna Macdonald emphasised that the treaty should unambiguously prevent arms transfers where there was a substantial risk of violations of human rights or humanitarian law or that risked undermining development. She also launched the new report ‘Stay on target’ written by Oxfam for the UK Working Group on Arms. This report sets out NGO recommendations to the UK government ahead of the July negotiations.