U.S. officials last month emphasized the need for an arms trade treaty (ATT) while acknowledging its possible limitations and the obstacles to agreement on the pact, which is to be negotiated July 2-27 at the United Nations.
In “How to Reach Consensus on an Arms Trade Treaty” (January/February 2012), Andrew Wood rightly states that industry would have a major role in implementing an eventual arms trade treaty (ATT) and highlights the value of its engagement as the international community meets to finalize treaty text this summer. He also forthrightly identifies a number of sticking points in the negotiations and properly seeks to dismiss the distraction caused by members of the firearms industry and sport shooter community.
Since 2006, government representatives to the United Nations have been engaged in progressively wider and deeper discussions toward the negotiation of a treaty to regulate the trade in conventional arms. In 2009 the UN General Assembly decided to convene a conference that established a timetable for crafting an arms trade treaty (ATT), which is to be “a legally binding instrument on the highest-possible common international standards for the transfer of conventional arms.”
In the high-profile criminal case against a man who has become a symbol of the illicit arms trade, a federal jury in New York City on Nov. 3 found arms dealer Viktor Bout guilty on all four charges brought against him.
Remarks by Jeff Abramson, Deputy Director, to the Consultative Committee of the Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Material (CIFTA).
Following a rare high-level meeting of UN members in September discussing ways to “revitalize” UN bodies addressing disarmament and nonproliferation, this year’s First Committee deliberations paid considerable attention to the role and methods of the international “disarmament machinery.”
Delegates at a UN biennial meeting last month reached consensus on the next steps toward an international instrument to address the illicit trade of small arms and light weapons. Although the commitments made were modest, the delegates’ ability to find consensus was seen as progress over their meeting in 2008, when they had to call a vote to reach agreement.
Authorities in Sudan have begun a series of weapons collection programs aimed at increasing security in the semiautonomous southern region of the country as part of an effort to increase stability there prior to national elections scheduled for April. The disarmament campaigns, which require civilians and the military to give up small arms, are mandated by a 2005 peace agreement. But the financial and political weakness of southern Sudan’s government has led some observers to question its ability to carry out the campaigns successfully, in spite of assistance from the United Nations and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). (Continue)