The Final Conference opened at the United Nations today to a packed room and high expectations. Several delegations have sent their Foreign Ministers to attend the opening of the negotiations. During his opening statement, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon remarked “We owe this treaty to all the innocent victims of armed conflict and violence” and reminded representatives and negotiators that they are here to “strengthen and conclude the work that has been done in earnest since the beginning of the ATT process in 2006.” View his full statement here.

The Control Arms Coalition, supported by Academy Award nominee Djimon Hounsou urged diplomats to use the time effectively to close the massive loopholes in the current draft text and agree a treaty that will truly save lives during their opening press briefing. Honsou recognized that an Arms Trade Treaty “does not solve every problem,” however, Hounsou concluded that the international community can help slow down the flow of weapons and ammunition into conflict areas by agreeing on a strong Arms Trade Treaty.

Control Arms also marked the start of the Conference by unleashing its Thunderclap action on Twitter, in which over 700 ‘donated’ tweets were released simultaneously. More than 100 coalition members have travelled to New York for the Conference, with others expected to arrive next week. Congratulations to Julius Arile, who ran the New York half marathon on Sunday, March 17, representing the Control Arms Coalition. He came in eighth place in the elite runners group.

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