On 2 July, nearly one month after the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) opened for signature, Iceland became the first State to officially ratify the landmark instrument. The ratification comes on the heels of more than 75 signatures, and shows the great momentum the ATT has achieved since being officially adopted in April at United Nations headquarters.

Iceland’s UN representatives were instrumental in ensuring that strong provisions against gender based violence, a great win for the ATT, were included in the final document.

Iceland’s Foreign Minister, Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson spoke to this point by saying, “In the negotiations on a new Arms Trade Treaty we set out to have a provision on gender-based violence included in the Treaty. In cooperation with our Nordic cousins and other like-minded nations, we succeeded in our task. That is how the system should work, and how we individually – and together – can make a difference, ” said Foreign Minister Sveinsson, adding: “We have shown, even just very recently, that it does not take a superpower to advocate successfully for a worthy cause.”

Read Minister Sveinsson’s full statement here.

Ambassador Gréta Gunnarsdóttir, Permanent Representative of Iceland to the United Nations, echoed the Foreign Ministers positive comments in an interview conducted by Control Arms and shed light on why Iceland ratified the ATT so quickly. “There was always very strong interest at the political level, but no less among the general public. In many ways it’s natural that it did not take long to ratify, ” said the Ambassador.

The ratification is expected to be the first of many in 2013. The ATT stipulates that the mechanism will officially become international law after 50 States ratify. With Iceland leading the way, the world is only 49 ratifications away from a Treaty that saves lives and protects livelihoods.

Control Arms welcomes Iceland’s ratification and urges countries to continue to make history by being part of the first 50 countries to ratify the ATT.

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