Almost 30 government representatives from 12 countries met in Riga, Latvia last week to attend the Central and Eastern European Regional Training on the Gender-based Violence (GBV) Criteria in the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). Over three days, the participants in this training explored challenges and solutions to the development and application of the GBV criteria in the ATT to existing export control risk assessment processes. In her opening remarks, Ambassador Aiga Liepina of Latvia, stressed that arms transfers have consequences on human security, including on the commission of gender-based violence and reminded participants that next year, the 20th Anniversary of UN Resolution 1325 offers a great opportunity to include new commitments into WPS National Action Plans, including references to the ATT.
Drawing participants from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia, this practical training aimed to build the capacity of government officials involved in the arms transfer decision-making process. The training relied upon existing resources including the practical guide on “How to Use the ATT to Address GBV” as well as the recently published papers “International Human Rights Law and Gender-Based Violence in Article 7 Risk Assessments“, produced in cooperation with the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School and International Law and Gender-Based Violence in the Context of the Arms Trade Treaty published by ICRC.
Expert speakers from Control Arms, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and Amnesty International brought these sessions to life, fostering interactive discussions. Their expert presentations illustrated the intersection between the ATT and other international and regional legal and policy frameworks including International Human Rights Law, International Humanitarian Law and the Women Peace and Security Agenda, the UN Program on Small Arms and Light Weapons and EU Common Position on Arms Exports. Participants applied lessons learned throughout the training by completing hypothetical exercises and engaging in group discussions, sharing national perspectives and exchanging good practices.