As part of the “100 Days of Speaking Out!”, a countdown to the treaty negotiations, Control Arms will regularly feature stories and profiles of different people who support a bulletproof ATT.

On 11 May 2012, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation offered a forum for German Members of Parliament, representatives of government, and civil society experts to discuss the Arms Trade Treaty. The panel featured three members of civil society working actively on the ATT—Katherine Prizeman of the New York-based Global Action to Prevent War project, Daniel Mack of Instituto Sou da Paz in Sao Paulo, and Robert Lindner of Oxfam Germany. The three panelists addressed the ATT from different perspectives, but all called for a strong Treaty that sets high standards for preventing the illicit trade in conventional weapons and combating the corresponding armed violence and human suffering that goes along with unregulated arms proliferation.

Ms. Prizeman remarked on the political context of the negotiations, the primary issue areas to be negotiated in the Diplomatic Conference, and the status of the most pressing unresolved matters such as the inclusion of small arms in the Treaty’s scope. Mr. Mack spoke to the universality of the Treaty noting that it is to be expected that the stronger the document adopted in July, the less universal it will be given the fact that fewer member states will sign onto it. He also underscored the importance of political will in securing a strong Treaty, underscoring in particular the role that Germany could play in pushing for a robust ATT. Mr. Lindner of Oxfam spoke from a humanitarian perspective outlining his hopes for a strong ATT that addresses human suffering rather than merely facilitating the trade in conventional weapons. Mr. Lindner called for an ATT that “levels the playing field” insofar as common standards are adopted and enforced globally.

The expectations for July varied among the participants with some expressing more optimism than others. Nonetheless, all the assessments were based in the belief that the world does, in fact, need strong, common, international standards for regulating the arms trade.

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