History was made on Monday 3 June 2013, as 67 states, more than a third of UN member states, signed the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) at a Signing Ceremony at the UN in New York. This is a very positive start to have so many states signing, so soon after the treaty adoption only two months ago. Many more states, including the USA said they would sign the treaty as soon as possible, and we are confident that over 100 states will have signed before the end of the year. The Vice-President of Costa Rica was the first to address the ceremony,

“This treaty now makes governments take responsibility for every arms transfer that enters or leaves their territory, and requires they put human rights and humanitarian law, not profit, at the heart of every decision. Too many lives have been lost to armed violence – today’s ceremony marks a new dawn,” Allison Pytlak, Campaign Manager for Control Arms, said.

States that lined up to sign the Treaty – which is designed to protect millions living in daily fear of armed violence and at risk of rape, assault, displacement and death, included major arms exporters like the UK, France, Germany and Italy, and emerging exporters such as Mexico and Brazil.

Government after government praised the role of civil society in achieving the ATT, and recognized that we will also play a crucial role in the effective implementation and monitoring of the treaty. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said that the ATT shows what can be achieved when civil society and governments work together, and Norwegian Minister Gry Larsen thanked civil society for our “relentless, professional and effective efforts” towards the treaty..

Reflecting the campaign’s crucial role in the long road to seeing this Treaty signed, Control Arms co-chair Anna Macdonald spoke on behalf of the coalition on the panel to officially open the ceremony. In a rousing speech she reminded governments the real impact of the Arms Trade Treaty, saying: “The most powerful argument for the ATT has always been the call of the millions who have suffered from armed violence around the world. “Survivors of armed violence, representatives of whom are here today, have played a major part in this campaign. Their suffering and experiences are the reason we are all here, and their courage and determination has been the inspiration to keep pursuing this goal.”

Control Arms campaigners took photos of delegations after they signed the treaty, and shared these on twitter. You can see photos here, and join in on twitter with the #Armstreaty and #Timetosign hashtags.

After 10 years of campaigning for the Arms Trade Treaty, it was a time for Control Arms campaigners – whether in New York or watching online from around the world – to pause to take pride in everything we have achieved.

“Change does not happen only in the UN or parliaments. Change happens when we work together on a shared goal and put aside our differences for a common good. Change happens from workplaces, from schools, from universities, and from our own homes, when we refuse to take no for an answer, and keep going,” Anna said, capturing the spirit of this campaign.

“So to everyone around the world who has supported this campaign – thank you for all you have done. This has been a global movement and you have all contributed. Thank you for making this happen.”

Read the full text of Anna’s opening statement here.

Share this post:

Verified by MonsterInsights