New Zealand has become the 45th country to ratify the Arms Trade Treaty and put the world in a prime position to realize entry into force within the year. Ambassador Jim McLay had the honor of depositing the instrument of ratification on behalf of his country at UN headquarters on 2 September.

New Zealand was among the most supportive advocates of the ATT and fought to ensure the strongest treaty possible during the negotiation process.

New Zealand’s ratification coincides with a visit by the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to New Zealand. On this occasion Foreign Minister Murray McCully commented that the ATT was a major step forward in global efforts to reduce the harm caused by the illicit arms trade.

New Zealand is now the third member of the Pacific to ratify the treaty after ratifications by Australia and Samoa earlier in 2014. Minister McCully commented that not only had New Zealand supported the Treaty from its inception, but it had developed a model law to assist Pacific states, and small states in other regions, to implement the Treaty. The Minister also noted that, once in force, it was hoped the Treaty would prevent the the transfer of arms that may be used to commit genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes.

President of Parliamentarians for Global Action, and New Zealand Member of Parliament, Ross Robertson says his country can play a significant role in bolstering the treaty participation of other countries in the region, telling a meeting of diplomats, politicians and officials at the New Zealand Parliament:

“Since World War Two, over 40 million people have died in wars. Ongoing events in Syria, Ukraine and Iraq continue to highlight the real urgency in making the ATT a robust reality at the earliest opportunity” He called on the government to share it’s legislation widely among UN member states, and in particular with neighboring states in the Pacific islands.”

With the total number of Arms Trade Treaty ratifications now at 45, the world is set to win the Race to 50, and earn the chance to change the global arms trade forever.

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