The inclusion of the bullets in the Arms Trade Treaty
Oxfam’s report of May shows some relevant issues regarding the inclusion of bullets and ammunition in the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).
It is certainly true that the ATT mainly comprise rules monitoring the arm trade of weapons and ammunitions in different uses such us military, police and security. However, there is no consensus about the rules governing the transfer of bullets in the same document.
The majority of member states on the treaty agree that guns are useless without bullets and that an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) that does not control ammunition will not achieve its purposes.
It is also important to point out some figures that allow us to measure the magnitude of the issues:
Twelve billion bullets are produced each year – nearly two bullets for every person in the world.
The global trade in ammunition for small arms and light weapons is worth more than the trade in firearms and light weapons themselves: an estimated $4.3bn per annum.
Moreover, the international ammunition trade is not only bigger than the arms trade, but also is less controlled and transparent than the second one.
Although the non-inclusion of ammunition in the treaty leads to a danger of common knowledge, several countries, including theUSA,China,EgyptandSyria, are arguing that ammunition should be excluded from the ATT.
The ATT is intended to change that by strengthening existing controls and enhancing transparency and accountability in the arms trade generally. With regards to ammunition, the least transparent aspect of that trade, the ATT should seek to replicate, widen, encourage and strengthen the best practice that already exists, rather than ignore it and weaken or still further undermine it. Just as it will not be necessary to monitor the transfer of every single firearm individually, under the ATT an effective risk assessment system will not mean that the journey of every individual bullet has to be monitored.