The importance of gender-based violence
It is now common knowledge that gender-based violence is often used deliberately as a tool to carry out and intensify violence. In fact, there are approximately 66,000 victims of gender-based killings of women every year and there is a direct correlation between gender-based killings of women and the use of firearms. Women are not only killed by arms, but are also targeted in crimes such as rape and other forms of sexual violence like trafficking and slavery. In 2009, UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-moon said that, “Like a grenade or a gun, sexual violence is a part of the arsenal of parties to armed conflict to pursue military, political, social and economic aims. Beyond the enormous toll on victims, sexual violence in armed conflict hurts recovery and peacebuilding.”
Gender-based violence and the Arms Trade Treaty
If the Arms Trade Treaty is to be an effective legal instrument in regulating the international arms trade, it must include strong references to gender and address risks of gender-based violence and a responsibility to prevent gender-based armed violence.
Many Control Arms members and partners support the inclusion of a criterion on gender-based violence in the ATT. This will require States to ‘not to allow an international transfer of conventional arms where there is a substantial risk that the arms under consideration are likely to be used to perpetrate or facilitate acts of gender-based violence, including rape and other forms of sexual violence’.
Positively the Draft Treaty Text from July 2012 includes two references to gender: The first reference is in the preamble paragraph 11, reminding the states to bear in mind that ‘women and children are particularly affected in situation of conflict and armed violence’. The second reference is in Article 4.6b, and asks states to consider taking feasible measures to avoid the arms ‘being used to commit or facilitate gender-based violence or violence against children. Unfortunately, the term “feasible measures” is not very strong.
During the upcoming Final Conference in March 2012, Control Arms will be advocating for stronger language that will make this criteria binding.
If you want to support a strong Arms Trade Treaty that prevents gender-based violence, then you can help by signing the petition here.
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