1. The Fifth Conference of States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty is 10 days away. This year’s conference focuses on gender & gender-based violence (GBV), and explores how the ATT can be used to address it. 

2. The Arms Trade Treaty is the first legally-binding instrument to recognise the link between gender-based violence and the international arms trade. Under the ATT, it is illegal to transfer weapons if there is a substantive risk that the weapons will be used to facilitate GBV. Find out how states can implement this criterion with our Practical Guide on how to use the ATT to address GBV.

3. Conflict and armed violence affects men and women in different ways. While men are both perpetrators and the primary victims of armed violence, women are more likely to be displaced, be the victims of sexual violence, and have their lives negatively impacted by exacerbated social, economic and political inequalities.

4. According to the Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom, gender-based violence is violence linked to to the gendered identity of being a woman, man, intersex, transsexual, or transgendered, and it is the most prevalent form of violence in the world.

There are 4 types: Sexual violence, physical violence, emotional & psychological violence, and socioeconomic violence. Read more here: https://s3.amazonaws.com/unoda-web/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Publication_Gender-based-violence-and-the-ATT_brief.pdf

5. Equal representation at peace and disarmament negotiations are crucial to building and maintaining lasting peace. For too long negative masculinity norms of power and dominance have dictated these forums that inevitably perpetuate war and violence.

As Reaching Critical Will explains, “There is a stark disparity in the level and volume of participation of women, men, and others in disarmament and arms control discussions, negotiations, and processes. Recent research has shown that at any given intergovernmental meeting on disarmament, only about one quarter of participants are likely to be women and almost half of all delegations are likely to be composed entirely of men. This underrepresentation is fuelled in part by the tendency to treat women as vulnerable victims, usually grouped together with children and the elderly—this framing reinforces persistent constructions of women as the “weaker sex” in need of protection by “powerful” men and enable women’s continued exclusion from authoritative social and political roles. Meanwhile, the framing of all military-aged men as “potential” or actual militants entrenches a tendency to support “violent masculinities”—a social construction in which masculinity is linked with preparedness to use military action and to wield weapons.”

6. The war in Yemen, fuelled by illegal and immoral arms transfers, has had a devastating toll on women & children. Damage to critical infrastrastructure and social services as well as lack of resources has left millions malnourished, with mothers left to fend on their own. According to ReliefWeb, “In 2016 nearly 220,000 pregnant and breastfeeding women were admitted to health facilities in Yemen with acute malnutrition. As the response expanded, the figure surged to nearly 410,000 during 2018 – an increase of 87%. Malnourished pregnant women run an increased risk of miscarriages and the anguish they cause, along with anemia and even dying during childbirth.”

7. A small arm is used in almost half of all violent deaths globally and in approximately one-third of all femicides. In countries with the highest rates of femicide, more than half of these killings are perpetrated with small arms. Find out more facts and figures on gender, GBV and the Arms Trade Treaty as well as ideas for action in our factsheet produced in collaboration with …:https://s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/igc-production/pJkGV9e72rfkMY6BAr5_caG0edLlNqTR.pdf

8. Women and children in South Sudan suffer from some of the most extreme gender-based violence in the world. UNICEF states that “GBV was already rife prior to the conflict, and is now nearing epidemic proportions.” 

“Women and girls associated with armed groups who have escaped, report rape and other physical abuse. Decades of conflict have created a highly militarised environment and a culture of violence. This allows perpetrators of GBV to operate with greater im

punity. Survivors may fear stigma or reprisals, hence do not report.”

9. Data collection on violence against women is sparse. More resources need to be invested into producing gender-disaggregated data to better help us understand the problem and how to address it. 

10. Gender-based violence has been used as a weapon of war for millennia and should be treated as such. Serious acts of GBV are in violation of both International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law, and constitutes a war crime.

It’s time to use the Arms Trade Treaty’s Gender-Based Violence provisions to protect women and children around the world.