Campaigners from around the world joined together in Berlin to call on governments to take action on ATT implementation, ahead of the next round of informal consultations on the Treatytaking place there this week.
The majority of campaigners held iconic green “Ampelmännchen” traffic signs to signify how too many irresponsible arms deals have been given the green light for too long. One campaigner stood alone to stop the others, holding a red sign symbolizing that it’s time to stop arms deals that cause untold death and destruction.
The action reinforces Control Arms’ call to governments that they have a “#chance2change” the arms trade if they implement the ATT strongly and effectively. On 27 and 28 November, upto 100 governments that have signed or ratified the Treaty will gather in Berlin to discuss the technical details of implementation.
Decisions must be made about the treaty’s future rules of procedure, financing mechanisms for the treaty, and the location, structure and remit of the ATT Secretariat. It is also a chance to plan for the treaty’s first Conference of States Parties (CSP), the annual fora where states will meet to assess progress on implementation. It is the second round of preparatory meetings for the CSP following a meeting in Mexico City held in September.
Control Arms campaigners will participate at this meeting and deliver several interventions on key areas of the agenda. The conference comes at a crucial time as the Treaty will become international law in less than a month on 24 December. Governments have a real chance to change the arms trade and prevent the flood of weapons that causes so much suffering.
On 25 Septembet 2014, Ambassador Norachit Sinhaseni, Thailand’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations signed the Arms Trade Treaty on behalf of his country. Thailand participated throughout negotiations and their signature on the landmark treaty represents one of six from the Asia region. Japan is the only country from the region so far to ratify the ATT.
Thailand said that they “place strong importance on the role of international standards and practices to effectively prevent [the] illicit trade in arms, and irresponsible arms use” and that the ATT should be the primary tool use to accomplish this.
The Arms Trade Treaty is set to enter into force and become international law on 24 December 2014. To date, 123 governments of signed.
Lebanon has become the 122nd State to sign the Arms Trade Treaty. Their signature could provide further impetus for additional engagement on the ATT from other States from within the Middle East region.
Fadi Abi Alam, Executive Director of the Permanent Peace Movement in Beruit said, that Lebanon’s action “is an amazing step that has taken by the Lebanese Government. In such a situation where terrorism is hitting Lebanon by arms that are clearly out of any control, signing such a treaty is an action of peace building and additional proof that the Lebanese are lovers of peace.
Additionally, the ATT, saw the number of ratifying countries rise to 54 as Guinea became the latest to join the landmark treaty. Guinea is the sixth State from the Economic Community of West African States to ratify the ATT.
The Arms Trade Treaty will enter into force and become international law on 24 December, 2014. On this date, States will no longer be able to sign the Treaty and will have to accede to officially become State Parties.
Control Arms co-hosted a packed reception this week at the UN Headquarters in New York, together with the governments of Australia, Finland, and Mexico to mark the achievement of over 50 ratifications of the ATT, and the launch of the “50 Celebrating 50” exhibit.
The High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Angela Kane welcome delegates to the exhibit, and noted the rapid speed by which the ATT have moved toward entry into force. Mexican Ambassador Jorge Lomónaco, Australia’s Ambassador John Quinn and Ambassador Janne Taalas of Finland, also spoke, acknowledging the positive role of civil society in the ATT process, and the importance now of moving to effective implementation.
“50 Celebrating 50” profiles the photos and quotes of 50 people across governments, civil society and the UN who worked to make the ATT possible.
See the exhibition online in English, Spanish or French and all are welcome to contribute their own photo and quote as the project continually expands to include more of the many people who have contributed to the ATT’s success. The exhibition will be next displayed in London, get in touch with Control Arms if you are interested in displaying it in your country.
2014 Humanitarian Campaigns Forum explores link between gender and arms
Over 100 campaigners gathered from 17-19 October for the third annual Humanitarian Disarmament Campaigns Forum organised by Control Arms, PACE University and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), and focused on the link between gender and arms.
The dynamic program included high-energy speeches from Felicity Ruby of Thoughtworks and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Jody Williams that sharpened understanding of how exactly how gender and disarmament are related. These were supplemented by vibrant panel discussions that allowed other perspectives on the subject to be heard and introduce practical ways in gender can be better highlighted within humanitarian disarmament. The Forum also offered skill building and discussion break out groups, and provided the opportunity for global campaign coalitions (International Campaign to Ban Nuclear Weapons, Stop Killer Robots, Control Arms, IANSA, ICBL, CMC, ICBUW, Toxic Remnants of War, and International Network on Explosive Weapons) to update on their activities over the last year.
The Forum produced an Action Plan including specific initiatives that connect gender and arms and which conference participants have committed to supporting over the coming year, and will help ensure that gender will not be marginalized or overlooked in campaign planning, research and reporting. The initiatives span action at the UN, and campaigns such as the “no more all male panels” initiative that seeks to correct under-representation of women in panel discussions. The Action Plan also highlights the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and the annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence.
The first Humanitarian Forum was convened by Human Rights Watch on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, followed by last year’s event organised by Article 36 and PAX.
Participants also recorded “Its Time” statements for a campaign video made over the weekend, watch it HERE.
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The United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs has just released a publication titled “Arms Trade Treaty: Signature and Ratification.” This brochure acts as a step by step guide that describes the procedures that States must follow in order to sign, ratify, accept, approve, or accede to the Arms Trade Treaty. Click here to read the full brochure.