Another big wave of support for The Arms Trade Treaty is taking place this week at the United Nations as a further 22 states added their signatures to the historic Treaty, taking total number of signatures to 107.
The biggest news of the day was Secretary of State John Kerry signing the Arms Trade Treaty on behalf of the United States. With $12.2 billion in exports, the US accounts for over one third of the global trade in conventional weapons, and their joining the treaty sends a positive message to the entire international community.
“We’re very pleased to hear that Secretary Kerry has signed the Arms Trade Treaty. As the world’s foremost arms exporter, US signature is a powerful step demonstrating the United States’ commitment to preventing mass atrocities and protecting civilians from armed conflict,” said Raymond C. Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America. “The Arms Trade Treaty provides a powerful alternative to the body bag approach currently used to respond to humanitarian crises and mass loss of life. Over the long-term, the Arms Trade Treaty will change how countries engage in the arms trade by requiring exporters to take human rights seriously.”
Most of the new signatures were added at a High Level signing event attended by the Presidents of Costa Rica, Gabon, Kiribati, Nauru, South Africa; the Prime Ministers of Lesotho, Samoa and Trinidad and Tobago and Foreign Ministers from Barbados, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sierra Leone and Zambia. At the event, Costa Rica and Trinidad and Tobago ratified the treaty, and Mexico will do so later today. Control Arms expects to see a few more countries sign the Treaty before the end of the UNGA High Level week.
Getting past 100 means that now more than half of UN Member states have signed the treaty. This is very fast progress for the ATT, which only opened for signature on 3 June this year.
“Today has been another exciting milestone for the ATT” said Control Arms Campaign Manager Allison Pytlak. “It is important now for the United States and all countries that have signed on the ATT to start implementing the treaty as soon as possible. As a global leader and the world’s largest exporter of arms and ammunition, the United States must apply the human rights and humanitarian law criteria at the heart of the Treaty to all weapons transfers immediately, including any transfers to warring parties within Syria.”