Asia made a big progress on Arms Trade Treaty
September 25, 2013

As part of a special high-level treaty signing ceremony, four more countries from Asia signed the Arms Trade Treaty. They were Philippines, Mongolia, Bangladesh and Malaysia. On 25th September, the Representative of Permanent Mission of Philippines to the United Nations, Ambassador Libran Cabactulan signed the Arms Trade Treaty. Ambassador Cabactulan claimed that the Philippines signed the ATT in order to fulfill his country’s commitment to promoting international peace and security. The proliferation of conventional arms has contributed to violence and instability in many parts of the world, including the Philippines and there is a need to address this serious concern. The Philippines had consistently voted in favor of the ATT, since it was first tabled in the General Assembly in 2006. “It will prevent human rights abusers and violators of the law of war from being supplied with arms. And it will help keep warlords, pirates, and gangs from acquiring these deadly tools, ” he added. Civil war has plagued the Philippines for several decades and thus the Arms Trade Treaty will allow this country to contain the proliferation of weapons to separatist groups and insurgents.

Session of United Nation General Assembly also coincided with the signing of the ATT by Mr. L.Bold, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Mongolia on the 24th September. Mongolia is the 86th country to sign this treaty.

On 26th September, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina also signed the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) at UN headquarters. As the first country signing the Arms Trade Treaty inthe South Asia, Bangladesh can provide a good example in the rest of the countries in this region. As Prime Minister Hasina, said at the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly: “I am happy to be first in the region to be signing the Arms Trade Treaty and acceding to the remaining CCW (Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons) instruments in this year’s Treaty Signing Event. Our role in world affairs is based on justice and democratic values, which assures international peace and security, and support disarmament.”

Syed Tamjid ur Rahman, the Chief Executive Officer of ChangeMaker – the Society for Social and Economic Development – commended Bangladesh on its decision to sign the ATT: “There is much evidence that the poorest countries are most affected by the irresponsible production and trade of arms. ChangeMaker is therefore extremely glad to see that Bangladesh is going to sign/has signed the Arms Trade Treaty. We congratulate the Government of Bangladesh for their remarkable initiative in helping to make the Treaty a reality, and now look forward to working with them to ratify it.”

Malaysia officially became the signatory of the Arms Trade Treat on the same day. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak signed the Arms Trade Treaty, which was opened for signature since last June. Jasmin Galace, from PHILANSA welcomed the news of Malaysia signing the treaty on September 25th. She said: ”As one of the first countries in SEA to sign the ATT, Malaysia proves that it is serious about its role of helping promote stability in the region. Malaysia is currently third party facilitator in the peace talks between the government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Helping bridge differences and promoting security in the region is Malaysia’s thrust and signing the ATT is a step towards that direction”