At the Permanent Mission of Trinidad and Tobago to the United Nations, delegates from around the world joined Control Arms for an important discussion: How can the ATT help reduce armed violence?

The event was co-sponsors by the governments of Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Australia and Norway and featured panelists Ambassador Eden Charles (Trinidad and Tobago), Ambassador Terje Hauge (Norway), Ms. Shorna Kay-Richards (Jamaica), and Anna Macdonald (Control Arms).

Each speaker emphasized the important impact that the Arms Trade Treaty could have on helping to reduce armed violence, providing its provisions are effectively implemented.. Ambassador Hauge noted that “armed violence is difficult to define, but easy to recognize” and outlined the humanitarian goals of the Arms Trade Treaty, which should underpin its implementation.

Ambassador Charles and Ms. Richards both described the high rates of armed violence that Caribbean nations face, as a key example of the global problem. As a major transit hub for arms shipments, many island nations in the region see significant quantities of firearms diverted to illicit markets. Ms. Richards also recognized that the irresponsible arms trade has led to “continued proliferation of criminality and transnational organized crime” which act as a driver of armed violence for the region. The armed violence the Caribbean region faces is just one example of the global problem.

Ms. Richards described 5 key elements in the ATT that have the potential to help reduce armed violence, and emphasized that “non-conflict armed violence claims far more lives worldwide than do ongoing wars.” This fact reinforces the need for the ATT to be strongly implemented and for continued dialogue through similar events.

Anna Macdonald described the importance of the article on diversion, as well as articles 6 and 7 on criteria. The combination of measures to help prevent diversion (the key moment when arms move beyond state control into the illicit market), as well as rigorous risk assessment give the ATT the potential to be an effective instrument to reduce armed violence.

To read more about each of the side events hosted by Control Arms at the United Nations during General Assembly First Committee, click here.

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