ATT workshop in Southeast Asia facilitates information and best practices exchange
Nonviolence International Southeast Asia and the Royal Thai Police Foreign Affairs Division recently co-organized an Arms Trade Treaty workshop in Bangkok, Thailand, with funding support from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The meeting, which took place on 6-8 December, focused on supporting multi-institutional and whole-of-government approaches to ATT implementation in Southeast Asia. Representatives from government agencies from Cambodia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam explored a range of technical and substantive issues like national legislative and procedural frameworks, cross-institutional working procedures, transit and transhipment, and tackling transnational organized crime in the region.
Participants, who visited the Royal Thai Police Bomb Data Centre and the Explosive Ordinance Disposal unit, were given briefings on the impact of the unregulated trade of arms, particularly of parts and components of explosives weapons, on the greater public safety in the communities and urban centers.
The workshop facilitated the exchange of information and best practices among participants from different agencies and countries, and explored legal and procedural issues. Each delegation also reported back on the status of ratification efforts in their respective countries. Case studies were used to reinforce discussions of best practices, allowing explore how systems were structured in neighboring countries, and what implications that posed in cases where more than one country was involved in transfers.
Pol. Col. Sahassachai Lochaya, Deputy Commander of Foreign Affairs Division of the Royal Thai Police, in his opening remarks said “I hope that this training will not only provide participants with the knowledge that is essentially useful for your understanding of ATT implementation in the appropriate way, but also give you a chance to get together for future cooperation.” This sentiment was re-echoed by Fred Lubang of Nonviolence International Southeast Asia in his closing statement, “For the first time, we hosted a regional event in partnership with the Royal Thai Police – Foreign Affairs Division, an implementing agency of the ATT – and this is an indication of how the ATT has now entered a new phase in the region: Meaningful partnerships between signatory states and civil society are fostering exchanges that in turn, help build capacities for the effective implementation of the treaty in the region.” Deepayan Basu Ray, ATT Monitor Coordinator for Control Arms, went on to note that “Civil society’s vast experience and expertise in the region can enrich the national implementation of the ATT, and events such as this workshop can provide the political and institutional support to countries in Southeast Asia to take that next step and ratify the ATT.”